Sunday, June 10, 2018

He had the right perspective on everything else, just not MY cause du jour

"If [Simon] Leys [(Pierre Ryckmans)] had an Achilles heel, it was his deep-seated Catholicism which in 1995 led him to defend the traditional family, 'the most successful experiment in the entire cultural history of mankind', against the prospect of same-sex marriages."

     David Coward, "The man who did for Mao:  an academic polemicist who was 'a mixture of Don Quixote, George Orwell, Mother Teresa and Confucius'," the Times literary supplement no. 6003 (20 April 2018):  4 (3-4).  According to Coward, Leys was the bane of "people dazzled by propaganda, fake news, and their own agendas", just not (apparently) Coward's own.  As, indeed, two correspondents later pointed out on p. 6 of issue no. 6005, dated 4 May 2018.  Tom Dilworth:
it would have been fair if the reviewer had also credited Catholicism a little with abetting or at least enabling Leys's political criticism, if only because having a real religion, Christian (which Catholicism, beneath all its encrustations, contains), probably helped keep Leys from falling for the false religion of Maoism.
And Christopher Abbott:
this condescension towards Catholicism - not at all rare in print these days - echoes Coward's own observation of the liberal Left's long resistance to any voices that threatened their pro-Soviet or pro-Mao orthodoxies.
The rest of Coward's article is full of only praise for Ryckmans' clear-sightedness. 

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