Tag Archives: edward luttwak

Edward Luttwak: Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Summary: This morning’s post warning about the resurgence of racism — open, unabashed — was a bust, traffic-wise (we prefer not to know). Let’s look at something different, such as this prescient warning by historian Edward Luttwak. Written in 1994; reads like written today. Articles like this can entertain, but provide more value if acted upon. Elections are won by those who act; voting is not enough.

Fight fascism!


Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Excerpt from an essay by Edward Luttwak
London Review of Books, April 1994


That capitalism …is the ultimate engine of economic growth is an old-hat truth now disputed only by a few cryogenically-preserved Gosplan enthusiasts and a fair number of poorly-paid Anglo-Saxon academics. That the capitalist engine achieves growth as well as it does because its relentless competition destroys old structures and methods, thus allowing more efficient structures and methods to rise in their place, is the most famous bit of Schumpeteriana, even better-known than the amorous escapades of the former University of Czernowitz professor.

And, finally, that structural change can inflict more disruption on working lives, firms, entire industries and their localities than individuals can absorb, or the connective tissue of friendships, families, clans, elective groupings, neighbourhoods, villages, towns, cities or even nations can withstand, is another old-hat truth more easily recognised than Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft can be spelled.

…In this situation, what does the moderate Right – mainstream US Republicans, British Tories and all their counterparts elsewhere – have to offer? Only more free trade and globalisation, more deregulation and structural change, thus more dislocation of lives and social relations. It is only mildly amusing that nowadays the standard Republican/Tory after-dinner speech is a two-part affair, in which part one celebrates the virtues of unimpeded competition and dynamic structural change, while part two mourns the decline of the family and community ‘values’ that were eroded precisely by the forces commended in part one. Thus at the present time the core of Republican/Tory beliefs is a perfect non-sequitur.

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President Obama, a Muslim apostate?

Here is a link to Edward Luttwak’s theory that Obama is an apostate to Islam, and the implications of this.  Plus two rebuttals.

  1. President Apostate?“, Edward N. Luttwak, op-ed in the New York Times  (12 May 2008)
  2. Is Obama the Apostate, or is Bush? A Reply to Luttwak“, Prof Juan Cole, posted at Informed Comment (15 May 2008)
  3. Entitled to Their Opinions, Yes. But Their Facts?“, Clark Hoyt, New York Times(1 June 2008)

The last is perhaps the most interesting.  Hoyt, is the Public Editor of the NY Times.  He has some revealing things to say about Luttwak and the Times itself.  Excerpt (bold emphasis added):

At a time when fears about Obama’s security keep bubbling to the surface and an online whispering campaign suggests that he is secretly a Muslim – call him by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, some Times readers demand – the Luttwak thesis was a double whammy: Obama cannot escape his Muslim history, and a lot of Muslims might want to kill him for trying.

… Did Luttwak cross the line from fair argument to falsehood? Did Times editors fail to adequately check his facts before publishing his article? Did The Times owe readers a contrasting point of view?

I interviewed five Islamic scholars, at five American universities, recommended by a variety of sources as experts in the field. All of them said that Luttwak’s interpretation of Islamic law was wrong.

David Shipley, the editor of the Op-Ed page, said Luttwak’s article was vetted by editors who consulted the Koran, associated text, newspaper articles and authoritative histories of Islam. No scholars of Islam were consulted because “we do not customarily call experts to invite them to weigh in on the work of our contributors,” he said.

… Interestingly, in defense of his own article, Luttwak sent me an analysis of it by a scholar of Muslim law whom he did not identify. That scholar also did not agree with Luttwak that Obama was an apostate or that Muslim law would prohibit punishment for any Muslim who killed an apostate. He wrote, “You seem to be describing some anarcho-utopian version of Islamic legalism, which has never existed, and after the birth of the modern nation state will never exist.”

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