June 23, 2005

More From Commentary

A few weeks ago I posted two articles from the June issue of Commentary, and lamented that two other pieces I had enjoyed in the print version were not available online. Well, I got a nice email note from a representative of the magazine yesterday, notifying me that the articles in question are now up at their site, and thanking me for the link (I'm sure their traffic just zoomed that day).

I consider the magazine a treasure, and I save every issue. Your results may vary. In any event, be sure to read Paul Johnson's essay "The Anti-Semitic Disease". It begins...

The intensification of anti-Semitism in the Arab world over the last years and its reappearance in parts of Europe have occasioned a number of thoughtful reflections on the nature and consequences of this phenomenon, but also some misleading analyses based on doubtful premises. It is widely assumed, for example, that anti-Semitism is a form of racism or ethnic xenophobia. This is a legacy of the post-World War II period, when revelations about the horrifying scope of Hitler’s “final solution” caused widespread revulsion against all manifestations of group hatred. Since then, racism, in whatever guise it appears, has been identified as the evil to be fought.

But if anti-Semitism is a variety of racism, it is a most peculiar variety, with many unique characteristics. In my view as a historian, it is so peculiar that it deserves to be placed in a quite different category. I would call it an intellectual disease, a disease of the mind, extremely infectious and massively destructive. It is a disease to which both human individuals and entire human societies are prone.

Then, Arthur Waldron's article on North Korea is worth taking a look at. His premise is that if we acknowledge that there are few good options, and that North Korea possesses, and will continue to possess nuclear weapons, and will continue to be a "rogue" state, then we are better off if they are in a dialogue with the United States than if they are more closely aligned with China or other adversaries of the U.S., and our best bet in the long term may be their reunification with South Korea.

Posted by dan at June 23, 2005 10:41 PM