Laughable, judging from the beginning, and just possibly fascinating exchange between Michel Houellebecq and Bernard-Henri Lévy reviewed at the Guardian. On Amazon, Public Enemies is on sale for Kindle for only £3.99, in hardback for £13.49 (full price £19.99) and in paperback, but only through third parties, from £8.79. An odd profile for a new book.
After looking at it for a few minutes (in the £3.99 edition), I can’t say whether or not Lévy makes a fool of himself as philosopher or how Houellebecq comes out of it, but the self-loathing shown on both sides at the beginning is not evidence that Lévy has started to agree with everyone else’s view of him. I have not read any of his or Houellebecq’s books.
Lévy, Roger Scruton and Mary Warnock are on the current BBC Radio 4 Start the Week, available as a podcast. (Why have paid podcasts never taken off?)
Warnock’s new book is Dishonest to God: On Keeping Religion out of Politics. More subtle and penetrating than Dawkins, says one Amazon reviewer, which would not be a surprise. He is a wonderful writer on science.
Scruton’s forthcoming book is Green Philosophy. Whether “philosophy” is the right word in the title or not, it is his logical next book. Ecological problems need to be addressed at as devolved a level as possible. Amazon:
“The environment has long been the undisputed territory of the political Left, which has seen the principal threats to the earth as issuing from international capitalism, consumerism and the over-exploitation of natural resources. In Green Philosophy, Roger Scruton shows the fallacies behind that way of thinking, and the danger that it poses to the ecosystems on which we all depend. Scruton contends that the environment is the most urgent political problem of our age, and sets out the principles that should govern our efforts to protect it. The current environmental movement directs its energies at the bigger picture but fails to see that environmental problems are generated and resolved by ordinary people. In Green Philosophy, Scruton argues that conservatism is far better suited to tackle environmental problems than either liberalism or socialism. He shows that rather than entrusting the environment to unwieldy NGOs and international committees, we must assume personal responsibility and foster local sovereignty. People must be empowered to take charge of their environment, to care for it as a home, and to affirm themselves through the kind of local associations that have been the traditional goal of conservative politics. Our common future is by no means assured, but as Roger Scruton clearly demonstrates in this important book, there is a path that we can take which could ensure the future safety of our planet and our species.”