Wednesday, February 08, 2012

“intellectual sin of the century: passing judgment on the fate of others in the name of their future as you see it”

Sin of too many centuries
From Francis Fukuyama's review of One Man’s History:  Tony Judt Reviews His Life’s Journey, New York Times  February 3, 2012  
Following is the 4th paragraph quoted in full with yellow highlighting added for emphasis:
Whatever Judt’s initial ideological commitments, he later concerned himself with a stark and important question: “how so many smart people could have told themselves such stories with all the terrible consequences that ensued.” The story was that of Communism, which perpetrated “the intellectual sin of the century: passing judgment on the fate of others in the name of their future as you see it, . . . concerning which you claim exclusive and perfect information.” Looking back at the history of left-wing figures from the 1930s like the French socialist Léon Blum, he saw their central failing as the lack of “any appreciation of the possibility of evil as a constraining, much less a dominating, element in public affairs.” This was to become the theme of his 1992 book “Past Imperfect,” which chronicled French intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre who publicly supported Stalinism while remaining willfully blind to its horrors. 

IMAGE selected by Steve Gilbert 20120208
Photo of "Original caption states: 'Deep gashes delivered by the killers are visible in the skulls that fill one room at the Murambi School.' Aftermath of Rwandan Genocide." Date 2001;  Source
"Author: taken during the official visit of US Rep. Frank Wolf"

"This United States Congress image is in the public domain. This may be because it is an official Congressional portrait, because it was taken by an official employee of the Congress, or because it has been released into the public domain and posted on the official websites of a member of Congress. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain." 

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