Harris and Hirshi

No it’s not a law firm, but a piece getting some traction in last week’s NyTimes Review of Books. Hirshi Ali reviews Lee Harris’ new book “The Suicide of Reason”. [Sidenote: The entire Review is devoted to books Islamic].

A couple of things going on here.

1)Harris’ views and 2)Ali’s interpretation of them. And then my own on both.

Start with Harris.

His basic thesis, says Ali, is is that there are two kinds of fanaticism: Islamic and Western reason. [Back to the question of whether Islamic is correct in this context in a moment].

I’ll begin with the reason. The argument Harris makes (which he outlined in his previous book Civilization and its Enemies) is that those who live in a democratic, Western society with histories of parliamentary procedure, constitutional order, political compromise, civilian rule, secularism, etc. can fall into the trap of assuming that everyone else in the world approaches problems the same way, has the same outlook. As a result, reason can become enervated and weakened in the face of irrational violence. (more…)

Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 12:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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