The Corner

A Battle of Ideas

Here’s what David Brooks had to say in the New York Times on Saturday:

“The commissioners don’t say it, but the implication is clear. We’ve had an investigation into our intelligence failures; we now need a commission to analyze our intellectual failures. Simply put, the unapologetic defenders of America often lack the expertise they need. And scholars who really know the Islamic world are often blind to its pathologies. They are so obsessed with the sins of the West, they are incapable of grappling with threats to the West.

“We also need to mount our own ideological counteroffensive. The commissioners recommend that the U.S. should be much more critical of autocratic regimes, even friendly ones, simply to demonstrate our principles. They suggest we set up a fund to build secondary schools across Muslim states, and admit many more students into our own. If you are a philanthropist, here is how you can contribute: We need to set up the sort of intellectual mobilization we had during the cold war, with modern equivalents of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, to give an international platform to modernist Muslims and to introduce them to Western intellectuals.”

And here’s what the Daily Telegraph is reporting today:

“A distinguished writer and academic has accused leading publishers of turning down his latest book because it is too critical of Islam.”

We have, it seems, a way to go with the ideological counter-offensive.

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