On Berman and projection

US Politics
on 4 Comments

Re Paul Berman’s 300-page book about Tariq Ramadan. From Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics:

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations set up to combat secret organizations give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through "front" groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy. Spokesmen of the various fundamentalist anti-Communist "crusades" openly express their admiration for the dedication and discipline the Communist cause calls forth.

(Via Wikipedia)                                                                                   

4 Responses

  1. James North
    May 3, 2010, 11:10 am

    Jack: A telling point. Good to hear from you here again.

  2. MuslimCommenter
    May 3, 2010, 1:11 pm

    A new video with Paul Berman
    link to youtube.com

    It’s a panel called Independent Voices on the Middle East.

    No Arabs. Three American Jews. One Pakistani ex-Muslim.

  3. MuslimCommenter
    May 3, 2010, 2:47 pm

    Paul Berman opened up with a blanket criticism of Edward Said, saying that with his influential book Orientialism Said had concocted an ideology that took all responsibility away from the Orient for their troubles. He also called Ibn Warraq a “major figure in the world of intellectuals”. If Paul Berman thinks Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are important intellectuals, then just what are his standards?

    He also pulled one of the cheapest shots you’ll see lately. He was just appalled that Tariq Ramadan called Ayaan Hirsi Ali a racist (I’m not exactly sure he did) but that this was particularly reprehensible because of the murderer of Theo van Gogh threatened Hirsi Ali. This murderer belonged, to quote Berman, “a splinter of a splinter” of an so-called racist ideology going back to Sayyid Qutb. Now, Ramadan’s father was an important publisher of Qutb, and as we know Ramadan is the grandson of Hasan al-Banna.

    So according to Berman, it is just so, so ironic that Ramadan – whose grandpa and dad had something to do with a person whose writings were the inspiration for a splinter of a splinter who threatened the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali – could possible call Ayaan Hirsi Ali a racist. By that logic, Ramadan would not be able to call Hirsi Ali anything. Shame on Ramadan for not taking all those degrees of association into account.

    • demize
      May 4, 2010, 9:17 pm

      Excellent comment. I’m sure Kevin Bacon is involved here somehow, except pork isn’t Halal. Your point is well taken.

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