The interviews locate themselves in the volatile intersection between the past and the future (otherwise known as the present continuous), and between what McCarthy calls “the fever swamps of the Left” and the promise of the restoration of political sanity. With the exception of Dalrymple’s chapter on the fallacy of opiate addiction treatment, they prize apart the “unholy alliance” between Islamic jihad and utopian socialism, that is, between true barbarism and false sophistication, with the latter enabling the former. In so doing, these “essays” — for that is how they often read — furnish us with a map leading us out of the cognitive wilderness we currently inhabit. Indeed, there is much here to profit the reader along a tonal spectrum of virtuoso performances, from the passionate sobriety of David Horowitz to the bracing indignation of Brigitte Gabriel to the jabbing irreverence of Ann Coulter.
Himself an author of distinction — his United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror makes a critical addition to our understanding of the Leftist pathology — Glazov is also an exceptional interviewer, knowing when to ask a leading question (Buckley calls him “a very pleasant extortionist”) and when to introduce an explanatory comment or append a modest rebuttal. For although Glazov and his FrontPage guests share a common political philosophy, these encounters are not always smooth sailing, occasionally requiring Glazov’s prodding or amplification and supplementing the exchange with a modicum of dramatic tension. But, no less sensitive to the interviewer’s art, Glazov knows when to recede and allow his subject free rein to expand on the issues under discussion.
The result is a volume that acquaints us with the ideas of some of the major figures on the political scene today. At the same time, these ideas develop seamlessly across the diverse sections of the text, since the various themes being addressed are, for the most part, inter-related and reflect one another’s abiding concerns.
Singularity and continuity thus work hand in hand, giving us a book that is doubly compelling and in the process whetting the appetite for a sequel. I can see Showdown With Evil as the first in a series, an initial installment in what Umberto Eco has aptly called the Encyclomedia, the alignment of digital packages with the standard currency of print. The Net makes for fast and sloppy reading whereas the book, as Eco says, encourages us “not only to receive information but also to speculate and reflect about it.” Eight years worth of interviews, with more to come, afford a cornucopia of material awaiting transfer from screen to page and from evanescence to fixity.
Jamie Glazov is to be commended for advancing a necessary dialogue between writer and reader and — who knows? — perhaps contributing to a much-desired and long-awaited slowdown of evil.
Showdown With Evil: Our Struggle Against Tyranny and Terror, 255 pages, Mantua Books. Available at Amazon.com.