On Liberal Thinking and Middle East Realities

Richard Landes is a serious medieval scholar who is supportive of the expansion of liberal values (such as as women’s rights and gay rights) across the globe. However, his observations of events in the Middle East challenge my own traditional liberal American views.

I agree with Landes that Obama’s Lebanon policy may be a hammer of diplomacy and envision nails everywhere. Landes calls this liberal cognitive egocentrism: define the problem in terms for which we liberals have a solution.

Earlier Landes patiently addressed Israeli dove Shlomo Avineri’s essay on the status of Palestinian national identity (one might become a civil society and not simply an aggrieved unity). Both are essays are recommended. I’ll be thinking about them for some time.

2 Responses to “On Liberal Thinking and Middle East Realities”

  1. Richard Landes Says:

    thank you for your post. if you want to explore some of these themes, look at my essays on what i call PCP I and II (politically correct paradigm and post-colonial paradigm) and the HSJP (honor-shame jihad paradigm).
    as i said to a progressive friend of mine today, a broken clock is right twice a day. that’s how i think of the right.

  2. Scott Says:

    Thanks Richard. I’ve read your occasional essays in TIKKUN going back 15 years. Your part in the exchanges with Bennett Muraskin and Joel Kovel were some of the best essays the magazine has printed. Your efforts advance what some of the Girardian thinkers (like Athos, a recent, repeated commenter on your blog) have been developing regarding the pull of the primitive sacred vs. the very different nature of sacrifice in Biblically – influence societies. It’s a difficult and worthwhile task!

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