Wiping the Floor With Norman Podhoretz
by David Gordon
by David Gordon
World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism. By Norman Podhoretz. Doubleday, 2007. 230 pages.
Norman Podhoretz, an eminent authority on the novels of Norman Mailer, has for decades postured as an expert in foreign policy as well. It is not too much then, one might have supposed, to expect him to possess an elementary knowledge of European history. Any such expectations are soon disappointed. We find in his latest effort this surprising remark:
Following from this [wish for stability through a balance of power] was a very old principle, going all the way back to the arrangements of the sixteenth century that grew out of the Treaty of Westphalia allowing for more or less peaceful coexistence among perennially warring Catholic and Protestant principalities. In its original form this principle was expressed in the Latin motto cuius regio eius religio (the religion of the ruler is the religion of the region). (p. 132)
Podhoretz has blundered badly. He confuses the arrangements made in the Peace of Augsburg (1555) with the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which confirmed the principle of cuius regio and extended it to Calvinism. But what is a mere century to our learned author?
But I am holding Podhoretz to an unfair standard. As he makes abundantly clear in this book, his field is not historical fact but rather fantasy and propaganda. We see this immediately in the title that he has chosen for his book. This presupposes two falsehoods: that we are engaged in a world war and that something called "Islamofascism" exists.
October 3, 2007
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