Friday, January 18, 2008

A Manichean anecdote

In a section of The Fall of the House of Bush discussing the neoconservative penchant for accusing anyone who doesn't share their apparently limitless desire for war of being Neville Chamberlain, Craig Unger provides the following footnote:

As journalist Jim Lobe has noted, it need not take an existential crisis for neoconservatives to fall back on the Munich-appeasement trope. Lobe points out that Donald Kagan, a classicist who is the father of the Weekly Standard's Robert Kagan, attributed his dissillusionment with liberalism to an episode in the late sixties when Cornell University decided to negotiate with black students who were pressuring it into starting a black studies program. As Kagan put it, "Watching administrators demonstrate all the courage of Neville Chamberlain had a great impact on me and I became much more conservative." In other words, in Kagan's Manichaean, neoconservative worldview, black students, by analogy, were Nazis, and their goal of studying black history was the equivalent of world conquest and exterminating the Jews.
We've previously discussed this Manichean style, here.

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