Sunday, March 02, 2008

Worse than Heroin

Nicholas Shakespeare reviews "Blood & Rage: a Cultural History of Terrorism" by Michael Burleigh:

Blood & Rage is in all sorts of ways an outstanding book; it is also fuelled by the manic energy and focus of someone accelerating a truckload of intellectual high-explosives into the gates of a "stunningly" credulous soft-liberal establishment, composed of "colluding" human rights lawyers and "celebrity useful idiots" such as Tariq Ali, whom Burleigh witheringly chastises for having "progressively marginalised high intellectual endeavour" while at the same time conspiring to convert cosmopolitan London into the Islamic haven of "Londonistan".

A member of Italy's Red Brigades conceded that ideology was "a murderous drug, worse than heroin". Maybe Burleigh's biggest achievement is persuasively to argue that no ideology is worse than radical Islam - itself motivated by "sheer racial hatred" - which exploits Europe's tradition of freedom of worship (and welfare state) to curtail our freedom of speech. Its leaders are people who know their human rights, but not anyone else's.