God is dead, but my hair is perfect.
BY BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY
... MCLEAN, VA.—The Right. The American Right. In America, the Right does not play around. Today I meet Lewis “Scooter” Libby. A man of the Right. A true-blue “neoconservative.” And though I expect to find a man quite different from me, I am struck by our similarities. He is obviously an idealist. He has a luxuriant mane of hair despite his age. He wears an elegant YSL white shirt and has the charming effrontery to wear it open-neck. He comes enveloped in a fragrance that, I am not embarrassed to say, is delicious and intriguing. Whenever I flick my hair out of my eyes with my left hand, he does the same—only with his right hand. And when I scratch myself fleetingly, he does the same, perhaps to put me at my ease. Or does this “neocon” mock me? Oh-ho, now I see. I am on to you, my dear Scooter. Congratulations. You and your hallway mirror have won the first round. En garde.
MCLEAN, VA.—When the real Scooter Libby leads me into his study for conversation, he is not the American right-winger I had expected. He does not pass me a snake and babble in tongues while firing a machine gun into the air. He does not burn a cross on a neighbor’s lawn while petting at my groin. Not at all. In fact, he immediately impresses me with his courageous zeal to ensure the dignity of Afghan women by sending hundreds of thousands of young soldiers into their villages. ... And yet, as a man of the Left, I cannot help but think of all the things that separate this man’s views from my own. It’s just that I cannot seem to think of them right now.
PORTLAND, ORE.—A sign in a Starbucks café: “No shoes. No shirt. No service.” This totalitarian pseudo-syllogism is repugnant to me.
Americans, heed the lessons of Sarajevo. Do not let this Stalinist dress code lead you into the Gulag. They shall not stifle our toes with boots nor even with Lycra. And so I remove my loafers and heave a foot onto the counter, wiggle my toes deliciously, knock over a painfully hot cup of tea, and hop out. There comes a time when responsible intellectuals must take a stand for liberal values, no matter the price.
DEARBORN, MICH.—At a mosque, I am asked by a middle-aged woman at the entrance to remove my shoes. Can she be serious?
“Excuse me, dear Madame, but I prefer to keep my shoes on— both of them.” Yet she asks again: “If you don’t mind, hon, take them off.”
Ah, but you see, I do mind. Islamofascism. Fascislamism. Take your pick. It can happen here. To my antitotalitarian friends in America, I can only say, keep your shoes on! Let us sit on the floor and clap our shoes together! Wear shoes on your hands! Or at least socks! Hang more shoes on your ears, perhaps the lightweight sandals called “flip-flops.”
Oh no, my fascislamistotalitarian friends, we are sorry to disappoint. I am afraid we must insist on wearing our shoes, in fact a whole panoply of footwear, at all hours, in all places. The alternative, as the 20th century shows, is a path straight to the Gulag. A path trod with bare feet.
—As told to Chase Madar
April 3, 2011
Now that we've learned that the idea for the War in Libya originated with French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy, it's worth taking a look at this essay in the 12/1/2009 issue of The American Conservative to learn more about this brilliant thinker:
By Steve Sailer on 4/03/2011