The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism
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The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism

by Pascal Bruckner
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691143765

ISBN-13: 9780691143767

Pub. Date: 02/21/2010

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Fascism, communism, genocide, slavery, racism, imperialism—the West has no shortage of reasons for guilt. And, indeed, since the Holocaust and the end of World War II, Europeans in particular have been consumed by remorse. But Pascal Bruckner argues that guilt has now gone too far. It has become a pathology, and even an obstacle to fighting today's atrocities.…  See more details below

Overview

Fascism, communism, genocide, slavery, racism, imperialism—the West has no shortage of reasons for guilt. And, indeed, since the Holocaust and the end of World War II, Europeans in particular have been consumed by remorse. But Pascal Bruckner argues that guilt has now gone too far. It has become a pathology, and even an obstacle to fighting today's atrocities. Bruckner, one of France's leading writers and public intellectuals, argues that obsessive guilt has obscured important realities. The West has no monopoly on evil, and has destroyed monsters as well as created them—leading in the abolition of slavery, renouncing colonialism, building peaceful and prosperous communities, and establishing rules and institutions that are models for the world. The West should be proud—and ready to defend itself and its values. In this, Europeans should learn from Americans, who still have sufficient self-esteem to act decisively in a world of chaos and violence. Lamenting the vice of anti-Americanism that grips so many European intellectuals, Bruckner urges a renewed transatlantic alliance, and advises Americans not to let recent foreign-policy misadventures sap their own confidence. This is a searing, provocative, and psychologically penetrating account of the crude thought and bad politics that arise from excessive bad conscience.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691143767
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/21/2010
Pages:
239
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Chapter One: Guilt Peddlers 5
The Irremediable and Despondency 6
The Ideology That Stammers 9
The Self-Flagellants of the Western World 13
A Thirst for Punishment 22

Chapter Two: The Pathologies of Debt 27
Placing the Enemy in One's Heart 28
The Vanities of Self-Hatred 33
One-Way Repentance 40
The False Quarrel over Islamophobia 47

Chapter Three: Innocence Recovered 57
How Central Is the Near East? 59
"Zionism, the Criminal DNA of Humanity" 62
Unmasking the Usurper 67
A Delicate Arbitrage 74
America Doubly Damned 80

Chapter Four: The Fanaticism of Modesty 87
A Tardy Conversion to Virtue 88
The Empire of Emptiness 90
The Pacification of the Past 93
The Guilty Imagination 96
Recovering Self-Esteem 100
The Twofold Lesson 106

Chapter Five: The Second Golgotha 111
Misinterpretations of Auschwitz 113
Hitlerizing History 117
The Twofold Colonial Nostalgia 127

Chapter Six: Listen to My Suffering 139
On Victimization as a Career 140
Protect Minorities or Emancipate the Individual? 148
What Duty of Memory? 157

Chapter Seven: Depression in Paradise: France, a Symptom and Caricature of Europe 167
A Universal Victim? 168
The Wild Ass's Skin 176
Who Are the Reactionaries? 179
The Triumph of Fear 183
Metamorphosis or Decline? 186

Chapter Eight: Doubt and Faith: The Quarrel between Europe and the United States 193
To Be or to Have 194
The Troublemakers in History 199
The Archaism of the Soldier 203
The Swaggering Colossus 207

Conclusion 215
Postscript to the English Translation 223
Index 229

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