Friday, November 15, 2002

Not all Frenchmen are idiotic jerks like the guy who wrote the book about how the attack on the Pentagon is a fake or Hubert Védrine or Lionel Jospin or Robert Hue or Jean-Pierre Chévenement or José Bové--or those two horrid Hispano-French hybrids, Ignacio Ramonet and Manu Chao. Here is a laudable and noteworthy exception, along the lines of our man Jean-François Revel. Writer and philosopher André Glucksmann has been writing interesting stuff for years, and while we don't agree with everything he says, he very often makes intelligent comments. He gets the back page of La Vanguardia today for an interview; the interviewer is Víctor M. Amela. We've excerpted the interview; Q is the interviewer and A is Glucksmann.

Q. When Bush bombed Afghanistan, was that terrorism?
A. No! He supported the Afghan moderates against the terrorists. Good for him! He didn't raze Kabul. People died, yes; there is no such thing as a clean war, of course. Look, sometimes it is necessary to use violence against terrorists.

Q. Is Saddam one? Should we attack him?
A. Didn't Saddam gas the Kurds? And there are hundreds of nuclear plants and oil production facilities that are impossible to defend; horror is coming closer and closer.

Q. Tell me, what is Good?
A. The absence of Evil! Good can not be conceived in a universal or absolute way. Good is relative. But Evil is absolute: it is the destruction of humanity.

Q. So who wants Evil?
A. I'll give you three exterminatory ideologies: Nazism (in the name of a superior race), Stalinism (in the name of a sole social class), and Islamism (in the name of a god). In the name of different things, yes, but with a nexus in common among the three: nihilism.

Q. Define nihilism.
A. Easy. "Everything is permitted; everything is right."

Q. (Nihilism) is then a sort of suicidal destruction, like the 9-11 pilots.
A. The awful thing is, after that happened, many people thought, "It's horrible, but the Americans deserved it for their historical bad behavior."

Q. Isn't that true?
A. Look, if we start reasoning like that, will any nation be saved? And blaming the victim is a form of being nihilistic.

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