Greg Sargent strikes me as a sharp guy. But this post strikes me as so profoundly silly on so many fronts I’m not sure how to catalog all of them. I am at a loss as to why he even bothered. Where it’s remotely accurate it’s not relevant and where it’s relevant it’s not remotely accurate. Neither Derb nor I were trying to pretend we were Orwell — and I doubt anyone but Sargent made such an inference. Derb’s quote is more wryly sarcastic than lofty. The “do totalitarians really wear jackboots?” question, I hope, is mostly tongue-in-cheek but, Who cares? The cutesey bit where he casts doubt on whether totalitarians ever stomped on human faces is objectively stupid and quite offensive if he’s serious. Is the upshot of that remark that perhaps Orwell himself was exaggerating? I would love to read Sargent’s take on Beinart’s book because if we take him remotely seriously here, he must think Beinart’s an idjit.
Similarly, Sargent’s real beef seems to be with the whole idea that the enemy we have today is really that bad. Islamofascism? What Islamofascism. There’s a debate to be had there, of course. But he’s on the wrong side of it and, besides, it has nothing to do with my original post.