19 April 2004


Norman Geras writes (on Normblog here):

Scott Lucas offers a clarification of the proposition that there was an attempt to silence the dissent of anti-war critics. Lucas's clarification in a nutshell: it wasn't mainly silencing he meant, though it was that to some extent; it was the fact that Christopher Hitchens and others of similar mind didn't directly or adequately respond to the serious anti-war arguments - as judged, this, by Scott Lucas - they caricatured them, thereby trying to render dissent "unacceptable".

I express my reaction to the clarification with one of the pre-clarification words of Christopher Hitchens: ridiculous. It wasn't silencing, and neither was it rendering dissent unacceptable. It was political argument - political argument about a hotly contested, passionately felt issue. As such, it was bound to produce all the varieties: from heated polemic and even distortion and abuse at one end of this particular spectrum, through vigorous but reasonably civil advocacy down the middle of it, to calm and scrupulously fair-minded debate at the other end - with, of course, further shades between these schematically defined points.

Dissent! Half the world or more lined up behind it.

Start here for discussion on this weblog and here for the Lucas discussion on Harry's Place.

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