On selling his book to the NPR folks.
She had just told me that “we’re all in this together. I don’t care if you’re Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist.” Good for you. Unfortunately, they do care. In Gaza, in Sudan, in Kashmir, in southern Thailand, they care very much. But the great advantage of cultural relativism is that it absolves you of the need to know anything. For, if everything’s of equal value, why bother learning about any of the differences?
On the whole I prefer those Americans who tune out the foreign-policy bores for wall-to-wall Anna Nicole Smith coverage: at least they’ve got an interest – ask them about the latest scoop on the identity of the father of her child and they’ll bring you up to speed. By contrast, a large number of elite Americans are just as parochial and indifferent to the currents of the age; the only difference is that they choose to trumpet it as a moral virtue. And you can’t avoid the suspicion that, far from having “a lot of work to do”, a lot of us are heavily invested in a belief in “pacifism” because it involves doing no work at all – apart from bending down once every couple of years and slapping the “CO-EXIST” bumper sticker on your new car.