Friday, April 04, 2008

Exempt from all intellectual influences

In the above short Bloggingheads clip, Paul Berman -- a key proponent of the Saddam/al Qaeda linkage -- concludes by saying "my thoughts and Dick Cheney's thoughts have nothing in common". Even after it was pointed out to him that Cheney uses the expression he (along with Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan) helped propagate, Islamofascism.

Yet much of his theory of how Islamism is fascist rests precisely on common intellectual influences and common sources, even when Osama bin Laden and Saddam never thought of themselves as fascist, or even like each other.

So Berman, as an intellectual, gets to put ideas out there while disassociating himself from the likes of Cheney when they use them. But his subjects get no such luxury.

UPDATE 15 APRIL: Here's a nice review from Daniel Davies of the role of Berman in the apparently defunct Euston Manifesto.

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