Bruising Judt, Fukuyama says Arabs aren’t ready for liberalism

Israel/Palestine
on 68 Comments

Check out the review of the Tony Judt interview book by Francis Fukuyama in the Times last Sunday. It strikes me as so weirdly balanced between insult and a faint readiness to entertain that Judt might in the end be right. The controversy is all about Israel and Palestine. Judt is deemed genius lucid on everything else, which he of course was, but taken to the woodshed for criticizing a bit too strongly the neocons and their liberal Iraq war enablers, and being unrealistic about Israel–too much an “intellectual,” says Fukuyama.

Yet Judt’s arguments, and his great rogue state that uses the Holocaust as a get out of jail free card line, are quoted.

[Judt] argues that Israelis and their American supporters have used the Holocaust as a “Get Out of Jail Free card for a rogue state,” but seems to think that his own Jewishness and the fact that he lived in Israel at one point give him the authority to be as morally obtuse in return. Judt seems intent on transferring the lessons learned in Eastern Europe, where genuine liberalism mostly replaced ethnic nationalism, to a part of the world where such liberalism just won’t work. His proposal for a binational state was put forward with the self-certainty of an intellectual who has never had to deal with the realities of practicality and power…

[My students] are fortunate not to live in a world where ideas could be translated into monstrous projects for the transformation of society, and where being an intellectual could often mean complicity in enormous crimes.

I wonder what Fukuyama really thinks–did he perhaps want to go further and praise Judt a bit more, and the Times wouldn’t let him? It kind of gives me that impression, but one never knows.

There’s a context. Fukuyama is a subtle and accomplished thinker, a former neoconservative who broke over the Iraq war. Eight years ago, he had a semi-famous feud with Charles Krauthammer, who implied without saying so directly that Fukuyama was an anti-semite for noticing that the neocons may have internalized Israeli hostility to Arabs, and that it distorted their world view. An outsider could see that Fukuyama clearly won the ensuing exchanges, but it’s a bruising thing for a gentile trying to maintain establishment credentials to go through– and not everyone has the thick skin or temperament for it.

Can one sense in Fukuyama’s criticism of Tony Judt’s anti-Zionism a whiff of Stockholm syndrome, of bruises that still need shielding. Or does he really think (as Israel and its Washington allies try to steer America into yet another Mideast war) that the “realities of practicality and power” require shutting our minds to the questions Judt was raising?

About Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of the American Conservative. The former editorial page editor of The New York Post, he has written for Fortune, The New Criterion, National Review, Commentary and many other publications.

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68 Responses

  1. seafoid
    February 7, 2012, 9:51 am

    “[My students] are fortunate not to live in a world where ideas could be translated into monstrous projects for the transformation of society, and where being an intellectual could often mean complicity in enormous crimes.”

    American elite smugness there. The dismantling of the American social net 1980-2012 would not have been possible without the support of the academy. Where did all those working class jobs go? And what are we going to do with Cleveland ? Where is my pension fund?

    • piotr
      February 7, 2012, 11:38 am

      seafoid, you have to read slippery intelectuals CAREFULLY.

      In “our world” intellectuals are often complicit in government crimes which, after all, have to have some ideology, planning and propaganda, but these crimes are on a lesser scale. Numbers of victims are very rarely reaching 7 digits, one can site rather few exceptional cases, and one has to admit that sometimes a monstrous crime is not that monstrous and the transformation is for the better.

      Take the massacre and internment in concentration camps of Indonesian communists in 1965. The number of victims barely exceeded 1 million, hardly a holocaust in a country with 100 million people, and the issue of leftist radicalism in Indonesia was resolved.

      In that context, dismantling of social net is either a much lesser crime, or a debatable policy that is possibly misguided from the point of view of the majority, but what can you do if the majority is stupid. [feel the power of the dark side!]

      • lysias
        February 7, 2012, 12:55 pm

        The victims in Indonesia may only have been 1% of the total population, but what percentage were they of the ethnic Chinese?

      • piotr
        February 7, 2012, 2:07 pm

        We basically agree. The establishment intellectuals of the Western establishment may be implicated in smaller crimes than the Eastern counterparts, but they are hardly innocent.

        And of course Zionism is a classic project of national transformation, which makes for very uneasy co-existence with liberalism which is kind of incremental.

        Lastly, Fukuyama should address the issue if USA is a liberal or post-liberal. With all due complements to Muslim nations, it is hard to see why liberalism should be so popular among Muslim if it barely makes it at home. “We torture only few people and usually our courts do not make mockery of justice” is not exactly the most inspiring object of emulation.

        Arab vote for parties with slogans like “Islam is the solution” and how it compares with GOP? Fukuyama is too complacent with “his world” to understand how it is perceived outside.

      • stevieb
        February 7, 2012, 4:20 pm

        That sounds like rubbish, I’m afraid. When you use meaningless terms like’ leftist radicalism’ it often runs that way.

        BTW I had no idea that this type of cost analysis for genocide was in fashion anymore – silly me! So, when we crunch the numbers it becomes quite reasonable to plan for a ‘holocaust’ of right wing or left wing idiots in America. Don’t you think? The ends would justify the means, no?

      • Hostage
        February 9, 2012, 3:29 am

        So, when we crunch the numbers it becomes quite reasonable to plan for a ‘holocaust’ of right wing or left wing idiots in America. Don’t you think? The ends would justify the means, no?

        In that case there would be no need to “justify” the genocide. You see, when the US government ratified the Genocide Convention it made a Kafkaesque reservation. In the Case Concerning Legality Of Use Of Force (Yugoslavia v. United States of America) Judge Kreca pointed out that the first and the second of the “understandings” lodged by the United States to Article II are actually reservations incompatible with the object and purpose of the Genocide Convention, i.e. the United States essentially reserved the right to commit genocide and it does not accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ (or anyone else) to make determinations regarding its responsibility for that crime. link to icj-cij.org

      • MRW
        February 9, 2012, 6:47 am

        i.e. the United States essentially reserved the right to commit genocide and it does not accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ (or anyone else) to make determinations regarding its responsibility for that crime.

        Jesus.

      • stevieb
        February 9, 2012, 11:28 pm

        I personally don’t think that’s at all legal. I hope that Americans start to realize that they have a serious criminal organization that is leading them to ruin. It’s all or nothing. Prosecutions for these kind of things will be paramount after a people’s revolution restores a true liberal democracy that seeks to cooperate in the international arena and problem solve, for example the environmental catastrophy that we face. You can’t do that with religious criminal fanatics in control. They only have power if we continue to play the game. Stop playing and it’s over for them.

        I still can’t believe that anybody would even vote in these sham elections…

      • seafoid
        February 7, 2012, 4:32 pm

        Piotr

        The world’s ecosystem is going to collapse by the end of the century. Runaway climate change. Caused by our addiction to oil and endless economic growth. We don’t know how many people will die. The US is right at the forefront of the madness. A mere 150 million people died in the wars of the last century. A collapse of the food supply in Asia would kill multiples of that. Indonesia in the 50s is neither here nor there.

        The idea that the West is some kind of benign phenomenon is deluded.

      • RoHa
        February 7, 2012, 7:50 pm

        “The world’s ecosystem is going to collapse by the end of the century. Runaway climate change.”

        The biggest climate danger we face is that of global cooling. There are indications that we might be headed into another “little Ice Age”, but since I remember such scares from the 70s, I am not too worried.

        Warm weather and lots of CO2 are good for food production, so freeing the trapped carbon in oil and coal is beneficial.

      • seafoid
        February 8, 2012, 4:28 am

        Roha

        Co2 is already changing the PH level of the oceans. There is more that can be safely absorbed. There are indications that the Messiah is going to come with your ice age. Wearing a red tutu. But I wouldn’t bet the planet on it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 8, 2012, 7:21 am

        “The biggest climate danger we face is that of global cooling. ”

        Unscientific baloney. Literally nonsense.

        “There are indications that we might be headed into another “little Ice Age”, but since I remember such scares from the 70s, I am not too worried. ”

        Again, nice talking point, but the notion that the 1970s was awash in fears of global cooling is just another talking point by those making billions by destroying the earth and the suckers they get to parrot their lies. There is simply no comparisons between the musings regarding the climate in 1970s and the data-backed scientific conclusions known today that unquestionably show long-term cooling.

        “Warm weather and lots of CO2 are good for food production,”

        Marginally so. But no increase in food production will overcome the negatives which the global climate change will incur.

        “so freeing the trapped carbon in oil and coal is beneficial.”

        No, it is asinine. The biggest think it is going to do is change the chemistry of the oceans. We’ve already scene the result of human idiocy in overfishing, in leaching fertilizers into streams, etc. If the oceans collapse, then we’re done for.

      • Chaos4700
        February 8, 2012, 9:20 am

        RoHa, you do know that plants need CO2 and oxygen both to survive, right? Plants don’t just soak up CO2 and spit out oxygen, and if the balance of gases reaches a tipping point, they’ll suffer too.

        Seafoid is right as well, too much CO2 in our global ecosystem is causing the oceans to become acidic. It’s believed they may have already reached a tipping point where they can no longer sink carbon, and now we’re facing shellfish and coral reefs whose vital exoskeletal structure is weakening in an acidic ocean.

        I’m sorry, dude, but you really need to be listening to scientists on this one.

      • seafoid
        February 8, 2012, 11:09 am

        It’s very disappointing to see Roha come out with stuff the Koch Bros pay for.

        Anyone who wants to understand what is happening to the oceans and coral because of Co2 should put an eggshell in a bowl of vinegar and monitor what happens.

        Nature adapts but it needs time and we don’t have any time.

      • RoHa
        February 8, 2012, 11:27 pm

        This isn’t a climate blog, so I’ll reply to everyone in a single message and then stop.

        As I said, I don’t really expect major global cooling to happen. (Global temperatures fell from around 1998 to 2009. A strong El Nino in 2010 seems to have stopped the cooling trend, so there has been neither statistically significant cooling nor warming for the last fifteen years.)

        But it is certainly not nonsense to say that something like the Little Ice Age would be far more disastrous than the current warm period. According to some studies the Roman and Mediaeval warm periods were warmer than the this warm period, and it certainly wasn’t a disaster for them.

        Global cooling is a greater danger than global warming. I don’t think it is an imminent threat.

        “the notion that the 1970s was awash in fears of global cooling”

        I was around and paying attention in the 1970s. There was a global cooling scare. It did not reach the level of hysteria equivalent to the current hysteria of global warming, and there were plenty of climate scientists who argued against it. (Just as there are plenty of climate scientists who argue against global warming now.)

        “is just another talking point by those making billions by destroying the earth”

        Interesting that believers always try to link AGW scepticism with the big money of industry, but totally ignore the huge sums of money backing up the AGW story. The US government alone has given nearly $80 billion dollars to the climate change industry. British wind farms live on huge government subsidies. And of course the Big Money Boys thought there was a pile to be made in “carbon trading” deals. (Enron was one of the big promoters of the Kyoto agreement.)

        link to scienceandpublicpolicy.org

        If money can buy scepticism, it can buy belief.

        On ocean acidity:
        link to joannenova.com.au

        link to c3headlines.com

        “But no increase in food production will overcome the negatives which the global climate change will incur.”

        If by “climate change” you mean “Global Warming”, most of those predicted negatives are just unscientific alarmist nonsense.

        link to numberwatch.co.uk

        “I’m sorry, dude, but you really need to be listening to scientists on this one.”

        Which ones? These 16?
        link to online.wsj.com

        These 30,000 +?
        link to petitionproject.org

        Or these?
        link to clinicalpsychology.net

        The scientists don’t agree with each other. (I know there is a commonly repeated story about a consensus, but there is a commonly repeated story about Ahmedinejad threatening to wipe Israel off the map. Both are equally bogus.)

        “It’s very disappointing to see Roha come out with stuff the Koch Bros pay for.”

        It’s even more disappointing that they haven’t paid me for it yet. “The cheque’s in the mail,” they keep saying.

        Yeah.

      • RoHa
        February 8, 2012, 11:44 pm

        O.K. One more link
        link to hidethedecline.eu

        Now I really will shut up about it.

      • seafoid
        February 9, 2012, 4:30 am

        (Just as there are plenty of climate scientists who argue against global warming now.)

        None credibly.
        It’s not like US politics where there are 2 echo chambers and you can live in either and fit the facts to your belief system .
        It’s about physics and the effects of fossil fuel burning on our environment. There will be no escaping the consequences. Fox won’t be able to talk them
        away. No Tea Party to put the ice back in place.

      • MRW
        February 9, 2012, 6:48 am

        seafoid,

        Ten bucks says you’re wrong. ;-)

      • Keith
        February 9, 2012, 6:52 pm

        ROHA- “(Global temperatures fell from around 1998 to 2009. A strong El Nino in 2010 seems to have stopped the cooling trend, so there has been neither statistically significant cooling nor warming for the last fifteen years.)”

        As far as I know, all of the temperatures between 1998 and 2009 have been above the global mean average temperature, hence, have contributed to global warming. To pick a record year and then say that subsequent temperatures not as great but above the average mean temperature indicates a “falling” of temperatures is disingenuous. There is no “cooling,” simply a slight decrease in the rate of increase. Additionally, the new emphasis on coal sands tar for oil along with gas from “fracking” along with oil exploration in the soon-to-be ice free areas of the artic, indicate that should humanity miraculously escape nuclear war in the immediate future (think Iran), runaway global warming is virtually assured. You know, for what it’s worth. If you are interested in climate science, you might be interested in the link to RealClimate, climate science from climate scientists.
        link to realclimate.org

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 9, 2012, 8:01 pm

        “there has been neither statistically significant cooling nor warming for the last fifteen years”

        9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000. The rate year to year is irrelevant, as the long term trends are all upward.

      • Justice Please
        February 8, 2012, 11:22 am

        piotr,

        this is not about victim numbers. What seafoid observed correctly, is that “bad things in America” also have their share of intellectual pioneers. Maybe Ivy League students don’t tell governments how to exterminate people, but we shouldn’t be blind to their bad influence (especially in economics) either.

    • lysias
      February 7, 2012, 12:20 pm

      What will people like Fukuyama say when the plutocrats start applying their “rightsizing” and efficiency arguments to universities?

    • teta mother me
      February 7, 2012, 5:13 pm

      Trita Parsi was a student of Fukuyama’s and Parsi is moving further and further from anything resembling support for Iran. Parsi seems to be that student who lives “in a world where ideas could be translated into monstrous projects for the transformation of society, and where being an intellectual could often mean complicity in enormous crimes.” Parsi is so busy being an ‘intellectual’ and clamoring for the full force of somebody or other to land on Iran’s “human rights abuses,” ill-defined tho they are, that he gives up ground in fending off efforts to starve and bomb Iranian people into submission.

      Parsi’s work is counterproductive. It makes it necessary for people like me, who do not want to see Iran bombed period, to have to qualify the argument, “the Iranian people are strong enough to take care of their own human rights situation, thank you; look how well defending Iraqi human rights turned out for that poor, destroyed culture and people.

    • aiman
      February 7, 2012, 10:57 pm

      Nice one. In the establishment some of the intellectuals/pundits who are complicit in “enormous crimes” include a large chunk of the media, Bernard Lewis, etc. Among Muslims you have Qutb and Mawdudi. Hindus have their Hindu atheist Savarkar. It also often amazes me how Bernard Lewis can quote bin Laden while exercising his own rapacious and morally vacuous intellect. Fundamentalists do that. But it also amazes me how fundamentalists who call themselves secular get a free pass for being “intellectual”, permitted in empire’s hallowed halls, whereas Qutb becomes the “godfather of terrorism”. The Saudi establishment gives refuge to dictators and fundamentalists and persecutes those who ask moral questions. What is the difference between a liberal and a Puritan murderer?

  2. Kathleen
    February 7, 2012, 10:21 am

    Judt was a brave risk taker. Bless his soul. Out on the front lines of this issue. An ability to apply compassion to the Palestinians plight

    Fukuyama has sure changed his tune.

  3. pabelmont
    February 7, 2012, 10:36 am

    Fukuyama: “[My students] are fortunate not to live in a world where ideas could be translated into monstrous projects for the transformation of society, and where being an intellectual could often mean complicity in enormous crimes.”

    His students live in the same world I do. I trust that he teaches them reality. I trust, in other words, that he teaches them that they live in a world that includes the USA where the high court has promoted the ridiculous idea that corporations are for many purposes “persons”. I hope he teaches them (for they are students, after all, trying to learn about the world they live in!) that Israel was created according to the “monstrous idea” that — just because Jews from Europe believed they needed a homeland and wanted one and wanted it in Palestine — that, therefore, it was OK (because of this “idea” the “monstrous project” of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947-50 was born.

    Perhaps, he merely seeks to find refuge for university types and other intellectuals and say that the crimes and monstrous ideas and monstrous projects of recent years have not sprung from the academy.

    Tell that to John Yoo.

    • MRW
      February 9, 2012, 6:54 am

      Fukuyama: “[My students] are fortunate not to live in a world where ideas could be translated into monstrous projects for the transformation of society, and where being an intellectual could often mean complicity in enormous crimes.”

      It’s happening in the geoengineering world right now. Geoengineering is now called Climate Reclamation and their ideas are stunningly stupid, criminal. AND WITHOUT PUBLIC DEBATE.
      link to agriculturedefensecoalition.org

  4. Dan Crowther
    February 7, 2012, 11:08 am

    “and where being an intellectual could often mean complicity in enormous crimes.”
    —————————

    What do you mean ” could often” Frankie? Seems to me, intellectuals “often are complicit in enormous crimes” — with a few exceptions.

  5. eGuard
    February 7, 2012, 11:25 am

    Fukuyama: but [Judt] seems to think that his own Jewishness [and …] give him the authority to be as morally obtuse in return.

    He “seems to think that”? Nowhere in the piece does Fukuyama quote or reason anything that supports that statement. He is connecting Judt’s Jewish background (not quoted in intself, just entered by Fukuyama) with a self-fabricated explanation for Judt’s attitude.

    Now, when you use someones Jewish background to ”explain” behaviour, unsourced, there is a word for that and it is not “smearing”. But of course, anti-Semitism is OK when you are a supporting Zionism.

  6. lysias
    February 7, 2012, 11:52 am

    a part of the world where such liberalism just won’t work.

    That was also said by the defenders of apartheid South Africa.

    • dahoit
      February 7, 2012, 12:37 pm

      And it was forced on the Japanese in 45,and were they compatible with liberalism?And the only reason liberalism?(what is that term anyway today but hypocrisy)hasn’t taken any root in the ME is because we have fought it tooth and nail,but nevermind that,lets impugn the Arabs as not ready for prime time.

      • teta mother me
        February 7, 2012, 5:24 pm

        how about the flip side of the argument: maybe Orientals and Arabs have an idea that liberalism is not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

        Cyrus created an empire that respected diversity and multiple religious views >2200 years before the United States came along to teach the world about being exceptional.

        Confucianism enshrined the family as the core of society, and whose strength the state existed to support, a few years before Fukuyama started teaching “his students.”

        Liberalism was the improvement on a then-prevailing system. I have an old Kodak box camera. It was the latest thing 40 years ago. Today, we have I Pads. In 40 years it will go the way of the Kodak. So it goes with liberalism. The attempt to impose a system or an ideology on another people is not just hubristic, it is destructive of the creative potential for finding a better mode for all mankind.

        Look at what Russia is doing in Syria today and yesterday; Sergei Lavrov is saying, “We looked at the evidence; we were eye witnesses to the violence. It is coming as much from the rebels against the state as the state against the rebels. The state has a right and duty to defend itself against upheaval. IT IS NOT OUR JOB TO PICK SIDES.

        With that statement Lavrov upended 30+ years of US “liberal” intervention that has cost the lives and futures of millions.

        Liberalism ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, and thank the sprinklers of pixie dust there are people who are intellectually astute and morally courageous enough to resist its imposition.

  7. lysias
    February 7, 2012, 11:59 am

    Judt’s book got a great review by Tony Barber in last weekend’s Financial Times: Fearless history: The late Tony Judt’s reflections on the role of intellectuals in a turbulent age:

    The central message of Thinking the Twentieth Century is what Judt calls “the intellectual sin of the century: passing judgment on the fate of others in the name of their future as you see it”. If Lenin, Hitler, Stalin and Mao were abominable gangsters and tyrants, the intellectuals who defended them were also culpable.

    “It’s terribly important for an open society to be familiar with its past,” says Judt. “It was a common feature of the closed societies of the 20th century, whether of left or right, that they manipulated history. Rigging the past is the oldest form of knowledge control.”

    He is right: knowledge of history, though no guarantee against abuses of power, contributes something to sustaining freedom. Tony Judt’s life was a brave and vibrant tribute to this truth.

    So it seems Judt’s book is only peripherally about the Israel-Palestine conflict. But what Judt said about intellectuals who defend monstrous regimes is something that people like Fukuyama would be wise to bear in mind.

    • MRW
      February 9, 2012, 6:56 am

      Rigging the past is the oldest form of knowledge control.

      Which is why I pissed that Blankfort has been banned here.

      • Dan Crowther
        February 9, 2012, 11:23 am

        It’s official that Blankfort got banned? that’s fcked up

  8. American
    February 7, 2012, 12:20 pm

    What does liberalism, ready for it or not, want it or not, have to do with the fact of Israel occupying Palestine and oppressing people….not a damn thing.
    Fukuyama needs to get a real job so he has less time to churn out intellectual nonsense or move to the Israel occupied territories so he can experience the ‘realities of practicality and power’ .

  9. split
    February 7, 2012, 12:23 pm

    “I wonder what Fukuyama really thinks–did he perhaps want to go further and praise Judt a bit more, and the Times wouldn’t let him?” ,…

    He’s one of them, signed both letters ,…

    link to newamericancentury.org
    link to newamericancentury.org

    • pabelmont
      February 7, 2012, 12:41 pm

      Thanks, split.

      Fukuyama’s one of them or he was one of them. Thanks for the research. What a damning list of neocon signatures. Has he ever recanted these signatures on these documents with these dreadfuls?

      Did he, by these signatures, seek to make himself complicit in enormous crimes?

      • split
        February 7, 2012, 2:14 pm

        “What a damning list of neocon signatures” ,…

        Not one of them served a day in armed forces but they’re first in line to send others to do their dirty work. They managed to made the world’s grandest banker (USA) to become the world’s grandest beggar enslaved to China, created a pool of hundreds of thousands a sick homecoming vets, now they’re paving the way for another war with Iran,…

        link to dissidentvoice.org

        link to theweek.com

    • lysias
      February 7, 2012, 7:03 pm

      Fukuyama studied political philosophy under protoneocon Allan Bloom as an undergraduate at Cornell.

  10. Annie Robbins
    February 7, 2012, 12:26 pm

    scott, thanks for your last link to steve sailor’s blog. i missed the Fukuyama/ Krauthammer fight. that 05 link fits right in with todays israel firster conversation.

    America’s foreign policy blunders of the last 30 months have less to do with the fact that so many highly influential people in Washington and New York, like Krauthammer, think about Israel and its welfare all the time, as to the fact that it has become extremely dangerous to one’s career to point out that they do. As Gene Expression blogged:

    And I’m sorry, but ethnicity will and should legitimately be a topic brought up in the ensuing debate. Consider an analogy. Suppose that Wolfowitz, Perle, Shulsky, Feith, Ledeen, and all the rest were South Asian Americans rather than Jewish Americans and had names like Ramachandran, Patel, and Choudhury. Again they’d be selected from a highly educated group that was less than 2% of society (there are about 2 to 3 million South Asian Americans, about 1/2 to 1/3 the number of American Jews depending on how you count).

    Now suppose they were pushing the US to invade Pakistan, and talking about how the Islamic terrorists killing Indian citizens in Kashmir were the same ones bombing the US on 9/11. Assume that they did this whilst having relatives, extended families, and significant contacts in India.

    Now, their arguments would not – and should not – be dismissed out of hand. After all, it is probably more accurate to say that Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the ISI are/were more closely involved in Muslim terrorism in Kashmir than they are with anti-Israeli terrorism in Palestine. (As far as I know, Al Qaeda has never directly attacked Israel.)

    But while their arguments would not be dismissed out of hand, clearly their visible ethnicity would figure into the debate. Plenty of people would take their opinions with a grain of salt, knowing that humans tend to be ethnocentric on the population level if not the individual level. It would be scurrilous to dismiss their arguments simply because they were of Indian ancestry, especially if they were born in America. But it would be foolish to think their ethnicity wasn’t impacting any of their arguments, and to rule out mention of their ethnicity as “anti-Subcontinental.”

    What we need, now more than ever, is free discussion. Closed discussion helped get us into Iraq.

    • yourstruly
      February 7, 2012, 4:28 pm

      could fukayama’s statement that arabs aren’t ready for liberalism represent an attempt by him to save his “end of history” theory from the shattering effect that an awakening in the arab/islamic world would have upon it?

  11. dahoit
    February 7, 2012, 12:31 pm

    Anyone who writes a book called “the end of history”and it not being sarcastic, is not an intellectual,but another miseducated moron and in thrall to idiocy.
    And his list of authors,and calling them mistaken, is an affront to the history of their serial lies.
    The poison ivy league of zeroes.

    • Brewer
      February 7, 2012, 3:20 pm

      Thank you dahoit.
      Well put. The fact that these morons somehow survive their public brain-farts and get published again and again speaks volumes about the quality of American intellectualism (or at least the lack of it at media editorial level).
      Add to the “end of History” nonsense, the embarrassment of such stink bombs as The Reagan Doctrine and Project for the New American Century and one wonders why this soft-brain is not running a second-hand furniture mart, something he may actually know something about.

    • aiman
      February 7, 2012, 11:06 pm

      Fukuyama’s ego-driven book title may have inspired Sam Harris’s “The End of Faith”. Extremists love such fatalistic titles. Compare that to Chris Hedges’s morally excellent “Empire of Illusion” which counters such propaganda in its own tongue.

    • Elisabeth
      February 8, 2012, 10:26 am

      “Anyone who writes a book called “the end of history”and it not being sarcastic, is not an intellectual,but another miseducated moron and in thrall to idiocy.”

      Thanks, thanks, you took the words out of my mouth. The man is a pompous ass, and the attention his book got has always irritated me. (Perhaps even more than the attention given to that other monumentally ridiculous book, Goldhagen’s “Hitler’s willing executioner”s.)

    • Tuyzentfloot
      February 8, 2012, 11:05 am

      Anyone who writes a book called “the end of history”and it not being sarcastic, is not an intellectual,but another miseducated moron and in thrall to idiocy.

      what a nice instance of heavily overrating intellectuals.

  12. pabelmont
    February 7, 2012, 12:51 pm

    What a lot of this boils down to is that people are arguing for policies while seeking to suppress identification of their own ethnic associations, mind-sets, loyalties, etc. Instead of resisting identification of the neocon movement with pro-Israel lockstep, they should proudly say, “YES, we are Jewish-Zionists and proud of it.” But, instead, they resist saying this and accuse others who say it of anti-semitism.

    And if I were to say that I am Jewish and anti-Zionist, these bozos would perhaps say, “if you are a Jew, you are a self-hating Jew, a pretty lousy specimen, because any real Jew would be a Zionist” (hmm, how’s that for stereotyping? to say nothing of arm-twisting of any fence-sitting Jews).

  13. Pamela Olson
    February 7, 2012, 1:11 pm

    Why is Francis Fukuyama still talking? This is like some flyweight loser commenting on Muhammad Ali.

  14. Kathleen
    February 7, 2012, 1:19 pm

    Judt was part of this panel discussion on the Israel Lobby. Worth the watch
    The Israel Lobby: Does it Have Too Much … – ScribeMedia.orgwww.scribemedia.org/2006/10/11/israel-lobby/Cached – Similar
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    Oct 11, 2006 – Last March, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published an article in the London Review of Books. Entitled “The Israel Lobby: Does it Have …

  15. justicewillprevail
    February 7, 2012, 1:34 pm

    Patronising, racist, arrogant, ignorant. Cowed by the lobby, clueless about the ME. How typical of the pseudo scholars and intelligentsia who queue up to mindlessly repeat what the ziolobby have inculcated in them. So much for independence of thought.

  16. MHughes976
    February 7, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Fukuyama’s idea seems to be that there is a risk of becoming a monster if you try to devise radical change but no risk worth mentioning if you set out to defend the status quo, which God knows many intellectual types have done. I’m sure F’yma is a very nice person but this massive moral privileging of conservative intellectuals vs. their radical cousins is itself an utterly monstrous idea.

    • MarkF
      February 7, 2012, 2:05 pm

      Radical change is only good for Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. Once you learn the rules and abide by the hypocrisy, you’ll get along just fine….

      • MHughes976
        February 7, 2012, 4:41 pm

        Yes indeed, those backward peoples who resist radical change or dislike those who impose it are trying to restart finished history. Not just monsters but dinosaurs. Sorry I forgot about that.

  17. Daniel Rich
    February 7, 2012, 4:51 pm

    Q: …but it’s a bruising thing for a gentile trying to maintain establishment credentials to go through…

    R: Stated as a matter of fact, does this ‘finding’ worry any ‘gentiles?’

  18. Daniel Rich
    February 7, 2012, 4:53 pm

    Did Fukuyama’s parents spend any time in any of the DOJ’s Internment Camps? If so, he would know it doesn’t matter whether you’re Japanese, Jewish or Jordanian.

    • lysias
      February 7, 2012, 5:18 pm

      His paternal grandfather was interned.

      But Fukuyama himself is rather deracinated. He grew up on Manhattan with little contact with Japanese culture, and never learned Japanese.

      • Daniel Rich
        February 7, 2012, 9:54 pm

        @ lysias,

        Thank you. That explains a lot.

  19. teta mother me
    February 7, 2012, 5:38 pm

    counterpoint to Fukuyama Chris Hedges, Death of the Liberal Class

    Hedges is what intellectual integrity looks like. alas, no PhD.

  20. RoHa
    February 7, 2012, 8:07 pm

    I don’t know what Fukuyama means by “liberalism”? If he means something like the sort of position advocated by Paine, Wollstonecraft, J. S. Mill and L. T. Hobhouse, then I would agree that it will not fit easily into Arab society. But to say “it just won’t work” is to suggest that Arab society cannot change.

    Societies do change. The Western “liberal democracies” did not spring into being as such. They are the product of a long, slow, process of social change which involved a good deal of (frequently painful) trail and error. And I say that the British and Americans are still not ready for democracy, but the only way to get ready is to learn by trying it.

  21. Chaos4700
    February 7, 2012, 8:44 pm

    Why are there non-white people who think that adopting pro-white racist politics will somehow get them ahead? I find that mystifying.

  22. piotr
    February 7, 2012, 10:02 pm

    Chaos,

    as a student, Clarence Thomas allegedly had a confederate flag in his room. This attitude served him well.

  23. Sin Nombre
    February 8, 2012, 12:05 am

    lysias said:

    “what Judt said about intellectuals who defend monstrous regimes is something that people like Fukuyama would be wise to bear in mind.”

    But that’s *precisely* what Fukuyama *was* bearing in mind when he said “[My students] are fortunate not to live in a world where ideas could be translated into monstrous projects for the transformation of society, and where being an intellectual could often mean complicity in enormous crimes.”

    There’s lots of misunderstanding (and consequent wrong-headed whacking) of Fukuyama here.

    All he was saying was that Judt might have taken his own well-observed wisdom about the enthusiasms of intellectuals past even more to heart about himself and his prescription for a binational state.

    Such a prescription, after all, morally right or morally wrong, would *indeed* be a huge project for the transformation of not one but two societies.

    And again, just speaking strictly neutrally, the idea of liberalism, color/racial/tribal blindness, pluralism, and even democracy *are* just intellectual theories, no different than … socialism of fascism or etc. There is no rock that’s been found, that is, on the underside of which God has written that the natural default ground state of human society organization is … e liberalism, color/racial/tribal blindness, pluralism or democracy.

    And thus intellectuals pushing same—as Judt was doing—have to be at least little careful given what Judt himself saw other intellectuals doing pushing *their* theories such as, Bolshevism, Leninism, Maoism, Khmer Rougeism, fascism or etc.

    I think you’ll find at the academic level Fukuyama is writing at worst it can merely be said he expresses some polite disagreement with Judt. And I doubt that Judt himself would have disagreed that his One-State solution would indeed require a tremendous change in the world-views of not only the Palestinians but the Israelis too.

    After all despite more than half a century now, and even now the very attenuated amount of land that they can realistically expect to get back, as those Wikileak-type documents showed not long ago they *still* were interested in same and *still* show no enthusiasm for a One-State solution.

    And of course in Israel same is considered to be something just short of another Holocaust.

    So let’s not go seeing Fukuyama as some great enemy here. That after all seems to be the modus operandi of the hyper Israeli partisans: Seeing everyone who disagrees on even a molecular level with them as sworn, total enemies, and it’s not only ugly but stupid.

    • Brewer
      February 8, 2012, 6:08 am

      “All he was saying was that Judt might have taken his own well-observed wisdom about the enthusiasms of intellectuals”

      I doubt Fukuyama ever met an intellectual.

    • lysias
      February 8, 2012, 10:19 am

      And isn’t Zionism just such a theory?

  24. Justice Please
    February 8, 2012, 11:49 am

    All Fukuyama does in this “review” with regard to Judts ideas about I/P, is saying in effect that they are dangerous. Why exactly that is, he doesn’t explain.

    What he once again demonstrates, following his overrated “End of Man” theory, is his simplistic worldview:

    “The undergraduate students I teach were all born after the fall of the Berlin Wall; for them, the huge ideological battles among Communism, fascism and liberalism are neither meaningful nor interesting. ”

    It’s only not meaningful if you are an idiot who thinks that ideologies always come with a matching uniform. Fascism, my dear Francis, is appropriatly defined by Mussolini as an order in which the power of the state and the power of big business overlap more and more. In other words, big business, after the free market is saturated and prices are driven down by competition, seeks the central power of the state, the power to coerce people, to sell more product. So through state coercion and power they sell weapons, vaccines, overpriced drugs, expensive equipment like iPads for every school in the country, or expensive medical instruments for every clinic, or a whole army of SWAT officers for every city.
    Through the power of the state they sell body scanners at airports, prison space for county Sherrifs to put small time drug dealers in, profitable GMO-seeds to big farmers, they make more profit from oil because they don’t have to pay proper reparations when a spill in the Gulf of Mexico kills millions of animals and destroys thousands of local businesses, and last but not least, they are able to take the money normally put into a safe to prepare for future losses, and use it for even more speculation, because through the power of the state, taxpayers have to cover these losses from now on.

    Fascism is alive and well in the world, Francis, although it doesn’t sport a Hitler moustache anymore. That might be confusing to a dimwit, but you claim to be an intellectual….

  25. Brewer
    February 8, 2012, 2:32 pm

    A curiousity not well known:

    Italians! Here is the program of a genuinely Italian movement. It is revolutionary because it is anti-dogmatic, strongly innovative and against prejudice.
    For the political problem: We demand:
    a) Universal suffrage polled on a regional basis, with proportional representation and voting and electoral office eligibility for women.
    b) A minimum age for the voting electorate of 18 years; that for the office holders at 25 years.
    c) The abolition of the Senate.
    d) The convocation of a National Assembly for a three-years duration, for which its primary responsibility will be to form a constitution of the State.
    e) The formation of a National Council of experts for labor, for industy, for transportation, for the public health, for communications, etc. Selections to be made from the collective professionals or of tradesmen with legislative powers, and elected directly to a General Commission with ministerial powers.
    For the social problems: We demand:
    a) The quick enactment of a law of the State that sanctions an eight-hour workday for all workers.
    b) A minimum wage.
    c) The participation of workers’ representatives in the functions of industry commissions.
    d) To show the same confidence in the labor unions (that prove to be technically and morally worthy) as is given to industry executives or public servants.
    e) The rapid and complete systemization of the railways and of all the transport industries.
    f) A necessary modification of the insurance laws to invalidate the minimum retirement age; we propose to lower it from 65 to 55 years of age.
    For the military problem: We demand:
    a) The institution of a national militia with a short period of service for training and exclusively defensive responsibilities.
    b) The nationalization of all the arms and explosives factories.
    c) A national policy intended to peacefully further the Italian national culture in the world.
    For the financial problem: We demand:
    a) A strong progressive tax on capital that will truly expropriate a portion of all wealth.
    b) The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor.
    c) The revision of all military contracts and the seizure of 85 percent of the profits therein.

    Original Italian
    Italiani!
    Ecco il programma di un movimento sanamente italiano. Rivoluzionario perché antidogmatico e antidemagogico; fortemente innovatore perché antipregiudizievole. Noi poniamo la valorizzazione della guerra rivoluzionaria al di sopra di tutto e di tutti. Gli altri problemi: burocrazia, amministrativi, giuridici, scolastici, coloniali, ecc. li tracceremo quando avremo creata la classe dirigente.

    Per questo NOI VOGLIAMO:
    Per il problema politico
    a. Suffragio universale a scrutinio di lista regionale, con rappresentanza proporzionale, voto ed eleggibilità per le donne.
    b. Il minimo di età per gli elettori abbassato ai 18 anni; quello per i deputati abbassato ai 25 anni.
    c. L’abolizione del Senato.
    d. La convocazione di una Assemblea Nazionale per la durata di tre anni, il cui primo compito sia quello di stabilire la forma di costituzione dello Stato.
    e. La formazione di Consigli Nazionali tecnici del lavoro, dell’industria, dei trasporti, dell’igiene sociale, delle comunicazioni, ecc. eletti dalle collettività professionali o di mestiere, con poteri legislativi, e diritto di eleggere un Commissario Generale con poteri di Ministro.

    Per il problema sociale:
    NOI VOGLIAMO:
    a. La sollecita promulgazione di una legge dello Stato che sancisca per tutti i lavori la giornata legale di otto ore di lavoro.
    b. I minimi di paga.
    c. La partecipazione dei rappresentanti dei lavoratori al funzionamento tecnico dell’industria.
    d. L’affidamento alle stesse organizzazioni proletarie (che ne siano degne moralmente e tecnicamente) della gestione di industrie o servizi pubblici.
    e. La rapida e completa sistemazione dei ferrovieri e di tutte le industrie dei trasporti.
    f. Una necessaria modificazione del progetto di legge di assicurazione sulla invalidità e sulla vecchiaia abbassando il limite di :età, proposto attualmente a 65 anni, a 55 anni.

    Per il problema militare:
    NOI VOGLIAMO:
    a. L’istituzione di una milizia nazionale con brevi servizi di istruzione e compito esclusivamente difensivo.
    b. La nazionalizzazione di tutte le fabbriche di armi e di esplosivi.
    c. Una politica estera nazionale intesa a valorizzare, nelle competizioni pacifiche della civiltà, la Nazione italiana nel mondo.

    Per il problema finanziario:
    NOI VOGLIAMO:
    a. Una forte imposta straordinaria sul capitale a carattere progressivo, che abbia la forma di vera ESPROPRIAZIONE PARZIALE di tutte le ricchezze.
    b. II sequestro di tutti i beni delle congregazioni religiose e l’abolizione di tutte le mense Vescovili che costituiscono una enorme passività per la Nazione e un privilegio di pochi.
    c. La revisione di tutti i contratti di forniture di guerra ed il sequestro dell’85% dei profitti di guerra.

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