“. . . aspirations to perfection awaken us to our actual imperfection.”
– Patrick Grant
The client provided this loaded excerpt as a brief and it gave me lots to think about:
“As Bruce Bartlett (advisor to Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush) told New York Times reporter Ron Suskind: ‘This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can’t be persuaded, that they are extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them because he is just like them.’ One of the best books on the recent Northern Ireland conflict is Richard Davis’s Mirror Hate (Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1994), and, among other things, it can help to clarify some implications of Bartlett’s remark. In this elegant and telling analysis Davis shows that although Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries are enemies, they also mirror one another. The enmity in itself is not difficult to describe because it is plainly declared by the opposed factions and their propagandists. But a further process of ‘unconscious convergence,’ whereby the opposed factions come to resemble one another, is more difficult to discern. That is, if we hate with sufficient intensity, we unwittingly become like our enemy, mirroring our enemy’s strategies and our enemy’s thinking. And in this ‘symbiotic antagonism,’ says Davis, the simplifications of propaganda readily triumph over ‘humanity and common sense.’ “
Cover photo by Lauri Rotko.