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The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"With eloquence, relish, and confidence, Pascal Bruckner confronts those whose morbid addiction to self-blame has begun to flirt with the suicidal. It's not necessary to concur with him about what constitutes faith or the lack of it. More useful and surprising (and educational) is to compare his authentic quotations from Fanon with the currently received opinion of that author. This is a book that issues a challenge in every chapter, and in some chapters on every page."--Christopher Hitchens

"With controlled anger, Pascal Bruckner scrutinizes European civilization and unsparingly tells the truth, no matter how congenial: Europe is worth admiring and emulating. Its spirit of critical inquiry has produced a culture of tolerance, liberalism, and learning. Its historical sins of omission and commission are legion, yet its values have allowed us to supersede them. In attacking a republican heresy of guilt without accountability, Bruckner chooses the right target and to great effect. This is a bracing call for the universality of republican ideals."--Oliver Kamm, columnist and editorial writer for The Times (London)

"In telling the West not to die of guilt, Pascal Bruckner has laid himself open to attack from all those who think it should. But this essential book, subtly argued and scholarly though it is, has a simple formulation at its heart that would be enough by itself to convey the power of his case: the West didn't invent slavery, the West invented its abolition. His ability to focus light on propositions like that makes him one of the indispensable philosophers of our time."--Clive James, novelist, poet, and essayist

"Bruckner's writing combines wit, learning, and savage indignation. The result is a brilliant defense of liberalism and a deservedly contemptuous assault on all those intellectuals who have betrayed its best values."--Nick Cohen, author of What's Left?: How the Left Lost Its Way

"Pascal Bruckner might well be the most distinguished essay writer in France today. He is both inordinately talented and prodigiously politically incorrect. No one better unmasks the pieties of the reigning intellectual cant. Whether one agrees or disagrees with him, he does the life of the mind an invaluable service."--Richard Wolin, author of The Wind from the East

Review:

"In The Tyranny of Guilt, the French novelist and philosopher Pascal Bruckner adds yet another variant: the "penitent state." Its principal characteristic is an eagerness to apologize for the sins of colonialism and genocide and other Western crimes." --Brendan Simms, The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"The core of his argument is to accuse Europe of willing collaboration with Islamic fundamentalists seeking to destroy the liberal freedoms we have taken centuries to achieve." --Julia Pascal, The Independent

Review:

"When it comes to the sweaty metabolism of guilt, Bruckner is perhaps the most accomplished anatomist since Nietzsche. . . . This short book is long on political wisdom. . . . Most conservatives will like The Tyranny of Guilt. Most liberals will loathe it. . . . But this is one of those books—ferociously intelligent, passionately argued, stylistically brilliant—that make local disagreements seem almost beside the point." --Roger Kimball, National Review

Review:

"Pascal Bruckner’s The Tyranny of Guilt damningly scrutinizes the many forms of pompous clerical treason and vaunting self-hatred present in Europe." Jonathan Meades, The Evening Standard

Review:

"Bruckner's brilliant short book calls for the restoration of a prudent but vigorous Western self-respect; the alternative is civilizational suicide." --Brian Anderson, The American Spectator

Synopsis:

"With eloquence, relish, and confidence, Pascal Bruckner confronts those whose morbid addiction to self-blame has begun to flirt with the suicidal. It's not necessary to concur with him about what constitutes faith or the lack of it. More useful and surprising (and educational) is to compare his authentic quotations from Fanon with the currently received opinion of that author. This is a book that issues a challenge in every chapter, and in some chapters on every page."--Christopher Hitchens

"With controlled anger, Pascal Bruckner scrutinizes European civilization and unsparingly tells the truth, no matter how congenial: Europe is worth admiring and emulating. Its spirit of critical inquiry has produced a culture of tolerance, liberalism, and learning. Its historical sins of omission and commission are legion, yet its values have allowed us to supersede them. In attacking a republican heresy of guilt without accountability, Bruckner chooses the right target and to great effect. This is a bracing call for the universality of republican ideals."--Oliver Kamm, columnist and editorial writer for The Times (London)

"In telling the West not to die of guilt, Pascal Bruckner has laid himself open to attack from all those who think it should. But this essential book, subtly argued and scholarly though it is, has a simple formulation at its heart that would be enough by itself to convey the power of his case: the West didn't invent slavery, the West invented its abolition. His ability to focus light on propositions like that makes him one of the indispensable philosophers of our time."--Clive James, novelist, poet, and essayist

"Bruckner's writing combines wit, learning, and savage indignation. The result is a brilliant defense of liberalism and a deservedly contemptuous assault on all those intellectuals who have betrayed its best values."--Nick Cohen, author of What's Left?: How the Left Lost Its Way

"Pascal Bruckner might well be the most distinguished essay writer in France today. He is both inordinately talented and prodigiously politically incorrect. No one better unmasks the pieties of the reigning intellectual cant. Whether one agrees or disagrees with him, he does the life of the mind an invaluable service."--Richard Wolin, author of The Wind from the East

Synopsis:

Fascism, communism, genocide, slavery, racism, imperialism--the West has no shortage of reasons for guilt. And, indeed, since the Holocaust and the end of World War II, Europeans in particular have been consumed by remorse. But Pascal Bruckner argues that guilt has now gone too far. It has become a pathology, and even an obstacle to fighting today's atrocities. Bruckner, one of France's leading writers and public intellectuals, argues that obsessive guilt has obscured important realities. The West has no monopoly on evil, and has destroyed monsters as well as created them--leading in the abolition of slavery, renouncing colonialism, building peaceful and prosperous communities, and establishing rules and institutions that are models for the world. The West should be proud--and ready to defend itself and its values. In this, Europeans should learn from Americans, who still have sufficient self-esteem to act decisively in a world of chaos and violence. Lamenting the vice of anti-Americanism that grips so many European intellectuals, Bruckner urges a renewed transatlantic alliance, and advises Americans not to let recent foreign-policy misadventures sap their own confidence. This is a searing, provocative, and psychologically penetrating account of the crude thought and bad politics that arise from excessive bad conscience.

About the Author

Pascal Bruckner is the award-winning author of eighteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel "Bitter Moon", which was made into a film by Roman Polanski. His other books include "The Temptation of Innocence" and "The Tears of the White Man" (Free Press) and the novels "The Divine Child "(Little, Brown) and "Evil Angels" (Grove).

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter One: Guilt Peddlers 5

The Irremediable and Despondency 6

The Ideology That Stammers 9

The Self-Flagellants of the Western World 13

A Thirst for Punishment 22

Chapter Two: The Pathologies of Debt 27

Placing the Enemy in One's Heart 28

The Vanities of Self-Hatred 33

One-Way Repentance 40

The False Quarrel over Islamophobia 47

Chapter Three: Innocence Recovered 57

How Central Is the Near East? 59

"Zionism, the Criminal DNA of Humanity" 62

Unmasking the Usurper 67

A Delicate Arbitrage 74

America Doubly Damned 80

Chapter Four: The Fanaticism of Modesty 87

A Tardy Conversion to Virtue 88

The Empire of Emptiness 90

The Pacification of the Past 93

The Guilty Imagination 96

Recovering Self-Esteem 100

The Twofold Lesson 106

Chapter Five: The Second Golgotha 111

Misinterpretations of Auschwitz 113

Hitlerizing History 117

The Twofold Colonial Nostalgia 127

Chapter Six: Listen to My Suffering 139

On Victimization as a Career 140

Protect Minorities or Emancipate the Individual? 148

What Duty of Memory? 157

Chapter Seven: Depression in Paradise: France, a Symptom and Caricature of Europe 167

A Universal Victim? 168

The Wild Ass's Skin 176

Who Are the Reactionaries? 179

The Triumph of Fear 183

Metamorphosis or Decline? 186

Chapter Eight: Doubt and Faith: The Quarrel between Europe and the United States 193

To Be or to Have 194

The Troublemakers in History 199

The Archaism of the Soldier 203

The Swaggering Colossus 207

Conclusion 215

Postscript to the English Translation 223

Index 229

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691143767
Subtitle:
An Essay on Western Masochism
Author:
Bruckner, Pascal
Translator:
Rendall, Steven
Author:
Rendall, Steven
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
World politics
Subject:
Guilt
Subject:
World - General
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Political philosophy
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
February 2010
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
264
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
Humanities » Philosophy » Ethics
Humanities » Philosophy » General

The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$42.15 In Stock
Product details 264 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691143767 Reviews:
"Review" by , "In The Tyranny of Guilt, the French novelist and philosopher Pascal Bruckner adds yet another variant: the "penitent state." Its principal characteristic is an eagerness to apologize for the sins of colonialism and genocide and other Western crimes." --Brendan Simms, The Wall Street Journal
"Review" by , "The core of his argument is to accuse Europe of willing collaboration with Islamic fundamentalists seeking to destroy the liberal freedoms we have taken centuries to achieve." --
"Review" by , "When it comes to the sweaty metabolism of guilt, Bruckner is perhaps the most accomplished anatomist since Nietzsche. . . . This short book is long on political wisdom. . . . Most conservatives will like The Tyranny of Guilt. Most liberals will loathe it. . . . But this is one of those books—ferociously intelligent, passionately argued, stylistically brilliant—that make local disagreements seem almost beside the point." --
"Review" by , "Pascal Bruckner’s The Tyranny of Guilt damningly scrutinizes the many forms of pompous clerical treason and vaunting self-hatred present in Europe."
"Review" by , "Bruckner's brilliant short book calls for the restoration of a prudent but vigorous Western self-respect; the alternative is civilizational suicide." --
"Synopsis" by , "With eloquence, relish, and confidence, Pascal Bruckner confronts those whose morbid addiction to self-blame has begun to flirt with the suicidal. It's not necessary to concur with him about what constitutes faith or the lack of it. More useful and surprising (and educational) is to compare his authentic quotations from Fanon with the currently received opinion of that author. This is a book that issues a challenge in every chapter, and in some chapters on every page."--Christopher Hitchens

"With controlled anger, Pascal Bruckner scrutinizes European civilization and unsparingly tells the truth, no matter how congenial: Europe is worth admiring and emulating. Its spirit of critical inquiry has produced a culture of tolerance, liberalism, and learning. Its historical sins of omission and commission are legion, yet its values have allowed us to supersede them. In attacking a republican heresy of guilt without accountability, Bruckner chooses the right target and to great effect. This is a bracing call for the universality of republican ideals."--Oliver Kamm, columnist and editorial writer for The Times (London)

"In telling the West not to die of guilt, Pascal Bruckner has laid himself open to attack from all those who think it should. But this essential book, subtly argued and scholarly though it is, has a simple formulation at its heart that would be enough by itself to convey the power of his case: the West didn't invent slavery, the West invented its abolition. His ability to focus light on propositions like that makes him one of the indispensable philosophers of our time."--Clive James, novelist, poet, and essayist

"Bruckner's writing combines wit, learning, and savage indignation. The result is a brilliant defense of liberalism and a deservedly contemptuous assault on all those intellectuals who have betrayed its best values."--Nick Cohen, author of What's Left?: How the Left Lost Its Way

"Pascal Bruckner might well be the most distinguished essay writer in France today. He is both inordinately talented and prodigiously politically incorrect. No one better unmasks the pieties of the reigning intellectual cant. Whether one agrees or disagrees with him, he does the life of the mind an invaluable service."--Richard Wolin, author of The Wind from the East

"Synopsis" by , Fascism, communism, genocide, slavery, racism, imperialism--the West has no shortage of reasons for guilt. And, indeed, since the Holocaust and the end of World War II, Europeans in particular have been consumed by remorse. But Pascal Bruckner argues that guilt has now gone too far. It has become a pathology, and even an obstacle to fighting today's atrocities. Bruckner, one of France's leading writers and public intellectuals, argues that obsessive guilt has obscured important realities. The West has no monopoly on evil, and has destroyed monsters as well as created them--leading in the abolition of slavery, renouncing colonialism, building peaceful and prosperous communities, and establishing rules and institutions that are models for the world. The West should be proud--and ready to defend itself and its values. In this, Europeans should learn from Americans, who still have sufficient self-esteem to act decisively in a world of chaos and violence. Lamenting the vice of anti-Americanism that grips so many European intellectuals, Bruckner urges a renewed transatlantic alliance, and advises Americans not to let recent foreign-policy misadventures sap their own confidence. This is a searing, provocative, and psychologically penetrating account of the crude thought and bad politics that arise from excessive bad conscience.
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