In this unprecedented critique, Bernard-Henri Lévy, one of the world’s leading intellectuals revisits his political roots, scrutinizes the totalitarianisms of the past as well as those on the horizon, and argues powerfully for a new political and moral vision for our times. Are human rights Western or universal? Does anti-Semitism have a future, and, if so, what will it look like? And how is it that progressives themselves–those who in the past defended individual rights and fought fascism–have now become the breeding ground for new kinds of dangerous attitudes: an unthinking loathing of Israel; an obsessive anti-Americanism; an idea of “tolerance” that, in its justification of Islamic fanaticism, for example, could become the “cemetery of democracies”; and an indifference, masked by relativism, to the greatest human tragedies facing the world today? Illuminating these and other questions, Lévy also brings to life his own autobiography, highlighting the thinkers he has known and scrutinized and the ideological battles he has fought over thirty years–revealing their bearing on the present.
Above all, Lévy offers a powerful new vision for progressives everywhere, one based neither on the failed idealisms of the past neither nor on their current misguided, bigoted, and dangerously sentimental attachments but on an absolute commitment to combat evil in all its guises. The “new barbarism” Levy compellingly diagnoses is real and must be confronted. At a time of ideological and political transition in America, Left in Dark Times is a polemical, incendiary articulation of the threats we all face–in many cases without our even being aware of it–and a riveting, cogent stand against those threats. Surprising and sure to be controversial, wise and free of cynicism, it is one of the most important books yet written by one of the crucial voices of our time.
Praise for Bernard-Henri Lévy’s American Vertigo
“An entertaining trip, as much in the tradition of Jack Kerouac as Tocqueville.”
–The New York Times
“Perceptive, pugnacious, passionate [and] exquisitely written.”
–The New York Observer
“It’s difficult to remember when a writer of any nationality so clearly and thoughtfully delineated both the good and bad in America. [Grade:] A.”
–Entertainment Weekly (Editor’s Choice)
“Lévy is a true friend of the American experiment and a comrade in the American struggle against the barbarisms.”
–The New Republic
“Lévy writes brilliantly. American Vertigo is filled with insights and goodwill.”
–The Wall Street Journal
“Provocative . . . [Lévy is] a writer of enormous power and vitality.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“Vigorous . . . impressive.”
–The Boston Globe
France's leading public intellectual voices vestigial allegiance to the Left while trashing it in this convoluted manifesto. Philosopher-journalist L vy (American Vertigo) feels a "family" loyalty not to a dead programmatic socialism but to "images," "events" and "reflexes" drawn from the Dreyfus Affair, the 1968 upheavals and other historical milestones that expressed the French Left's opposition to racism and fascism, its support of egalitarianism and its attitude of all-embracing moral responsibility. L vy follows this muted tribute with a harsh critique of present-day leftist politics. Flogging everyone from Noam Chomsky to Cindy Sheehan, the author attacks the Left for its antiliberalism and anti-Americanism (a veiled anti-Semitism, he believes) and for being soft on "Fascislamism," warning that this "progressivism without progress" adopts the Right's worst features with its isolationism and resistance to humanitarian interventions in Bosnia and Darfur. L vy is a more cerebral and judicious Christopher Hitchens; despite his grandiosity, arcane allusions and the high rhetoric of his long, coiling sentences, he is a lucid, cogent polemicist. Although the dudgeon he directs at the diminished sins of a marginalized postcommunist Left seems overdone, L vy's many American fans will relish it.