Eighty years ago we were caught off-guard by an unprecedented evil that, in essence, declared war on civilization. The regimes in question were not secret about their intentions, but we refused to believe that, in the words of Michael Ledeen, “a great evil had become paramount in the countries that had produced Kant, Beethoven, Dante and Rossini.”
Whatever excuses our parents and grandparents had 80 years ago would seem feeble today, now that we know so muchl about murderous regimes and the messianic political movements that produce them. Yet, says Ledeen, we are again “failing to see the mounting power of evil enemies,” electing to “treat them as if they were normal political phenomena” as to which negotiations are the best course of action.
This time, Ledeen correctly concludes, “ignorance cannot be claimed as an excuse.” Rather, “if we are defeated, it will be because of failure of will, not lack of understanding.”
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