Everybody’s taking their shots at Bernard Henri-Lévy these days. Here’s another from n+1.

“Repetition,” writes Kierkegaard, “has not the disquietude of hope, the anxious adventuresomeness of discoverers, nor the sadness of recollection; it has the blessed certainty of the instant.” Tocqueville was a disquiet hoper, an anxious adventurer, a sad recollector – what is Bernard-Henri Lévy? God only knows. Tocqueville would have had ready some brilliant epigram, but BHL is more furtive and less self-aware. There are lots of questions in American Vertigo – I counted forty in the first twenty pages – but only sentence fragments for answers. If I had met BHL near the start of his trip, I would have asked him a few unanswerable questions of my own. Why aren’t you our Tocqueville? Could you ever have been? Could anyone write Democracy in America today? If not, why not? If so, who? And where? America or France? Nigeria? Iran? What would a closer follower of Tocqueville’s footsteps call our past sixty years of revolutions? And where would he or she go to look for our future?