High Noon for America

Michael Ledeen comments in Symposium 2 ("The Red Arabs") that “this conversation could easily be expanded into an invaluable little book.” Indeed, many of these discussions could be developed and transposed, as I have suggested, into an interesting dialogic documentary or “philosophical film,” unveiling the secrets of the Soviet influences on the Middle East or the roots of the Arab Spring that spell disaster for the West, all in the give-and-take of spirited discourse. It is the dramatic element inherent in these exchanges that imparts a cinematic aspect to the proceedings, reminding us that words and ideas can have kinetic power. One can visualize the protagonists, as in My Dinner with Andre, sitting around a restaurant table, engaged in earnest parley replete with lofty speculation, suspenseful pauses, personal revelations—embellished, perhaps, with a subtle soundtrack and occasional flashbacks—as the stagecraft of ideas plays out under Glazov’s adroit direction. There is something vivid and immediate about many of these productions, and the insights they provoke are richly instructive and often riveting.

In Symposium 12 ("Radical Son: The Ten Year Anniversary"), for example, Philip Terzian proposes that radical leftism “constitutes a mental, rather than political, syndrome, explained better by psychiatry than philosophy”; and Paul Hollander broaches the “ancient question” of the inexplicable differences in people’s “moral sensibilities, or thresholds of moral indignation.” Glazov introduces Symposium 8 ("The Fear that Wilders Is Right") by pointing out what should be obvious but is generally suppressed or denied, namely,  that “‘moderate Islam’ is nowhere to be found; no school of Islamic jurisprudence exists that counsels Muslims to renounce the Qu’ran’s teaching on Islamic supremacism and the obligation of violent jihad”; and by attempting to explain why such stalwart conservative figures like Glenn Beck and Charles Krauthammer have attacked the noble and embattled Geert Wilders. In Symposium 11 ("The World’s Most Wanted: A 'Moderate Islam'”), Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels documents the perverse sexual trends in the Muslim world, the devaluation of women, and the striking frequency of pedophilia, rape, and bestiality, concluding that “no other culture prevents emotional maturity more than the Muslim.” The polite dispute in Symposium 6 ("The End of a Superpower?") on the much-feared military and economic decline of the U.S. pits James Carafano, who warns of the danger of complacence in three key trouble spots—security, science and immigration—against the sunnier-tempered Robert Lieber, who stresses American resilience and innovation: the unspoken assumption is that they can’t both be right and a degree of restiveness is detectable beneath the veneer of mutual cordiality.

These instances represent merely a brief selection of the disclosures and reflections that await the political consumer, who may find himself slowly beginning to feel less like a reader poring over a book and more like a viewer watching a verbal drama unfold before his eyes. In sum, High Noon for America is a volume whose “scenes” are, in the words of Steven Emerson, “so intellectually fascinating that you will be glued to your seat.” It is well worth the price of the ticket.