Tuesday, January 16, 2007


David Aaronovitch in the Times today:

At the weekend the Chancellor’s main man, Ed Balls, was talking about the struggle against Islamist ideology. He drew a parallel between today and the Cold War. During the Cold War, he said, we’d fought against totalitarianism (what do you mean “we”, paleface?) with the weapons of culture. We’d used publications, books, films, everything we could, to join ideological battle with Soviet-style Communism. Had we done the same thing, he asked, in the fight against Islamism and authoritarianism?

The answer is no, we haven’t. We’ve been too busy complaining about the trains

Many thanks to Marc Sidwell for pointing out to us this end paragraph from Aaronovitch’s piece in the paper today. But what films, books and cultural weaponry is Ed Balls referring to exactly? Which anti-marxist, anti-soviet movies did I miss? What books extolling the cultural and moral supremacy of the values of liberal capitalist societies did I not read? Which plays, novels, and BBC series dealing with the slaughter of 40 million Russians and maybe 70 million Chinese under communism did I not get to see?

The historian Robert Conquest is excellent on the cultural self-laceration of the West during the Cold War period (see, for example, The Dragons of Expectation).

But if you're with Ed, then please do send us your memories and cultural highlights of the great struggle carried on by the western cultural elites in the war against Left-wing totalitarianism. Now think hard!

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