The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism Bruckner, P.
In ‘The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism’, Pascal Bruckner makes the case that guilt over Western crimes of imperialsim, colonialism, slavery, and racism have metamorphosed into a full blown cultural pathology, affecting the ability of entire swathes of the Western political class from offering a proper critique of non-Western crimes. Bruckner describes this worldview as obscenely self centered. Western liberals look across the world and are unable to see anything but a dark mirror, reflecting the ugliness of their own societies.
Particularly compelling is Bruckner’s point about slavery. Western states are repeatedly implored by critics to repay and repent for centuries of involvement in the African slave trade. But other participants, namely the Arab societies of north Africa and Arabia, are never expected by these same critics to repay for the same. This despite the fact that Arab slave trade went on well into the 20th century. Bruckner says that the most salient point is that while the West didn’t invent slavery, it invent its abolition.
Recommended for readers of Paul Berman and Nick Cohen.
Reviewed favorable by Andrew Anthony here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/may/09/tyranny-of-guilt