Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In Praise of Intransigience

I was looking at a new book, In Praise of Intransigience: the perils of flexibility, by Richard H. Weisberg.

First off, let me say, ethical and legal intransigience, which is what he is talking about, is certainly deserving of some praise. Flexibility cannot be an infinite virtue, since at some point it falls prey to some mind-bending recursive questions, such as:

Aren't you being rather inflexible in your idealization of flexibility? Wouldn't true flexibility allow for intransigience, too?

It's an oddly structured book. Much time is spent on the epistles of Paul, the gospel of John, and the Nazi-appeasing governments of Vichy France and the occupied Channel Islands.

He traces flexibility-idealization back to early Christianity and the rhetorical strategies adopted in its divorce from Judaism. This strikes me as novel and misguided, but I haven't taken the time to study his thesis.

Of course, he has a pressing interest in the question: how did the Europeans go along, so flexibly, with the horror of murderous Nazi antisemitism? So you can see where he might be tempted to take this issue back to the early split between the 2 religions.

What house will stand
when built upon sand?


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