A common feature of Bruckner’s kind of polemics is the frequent use of the words “appeasement” and “collaborator”. This is rarely done innocently. The idea is to associate people who seek an accommodation with the majority of Muslims with Nazi collaborators. Unless he is simply being vicious, this can only mean that Bruckner sees the rise of Islamism as something on a par with the emergence of the Third Reich. If so, he is not alone. While seeing the dangers of Islamism, I regard this as too alarmist.
But here we get to the final Brucknerian sleight of hand, for after all his huffing and puffing about not giving an inch to the Muslims, about defending Ayaan Hirsi Ali against “the enemies of freedom,” such as myself, he suddenly concludes that “there is nothing that resembles the formidable peril of the Third Reich” and even that “the government of Mullahs in Tehran is a paper tiger.” Now it is us, the armchair philosophers, who are the panic-stricken alarmists, who have lost the courage to “defend Europe.” Now where have we heard that kind of thing before? The need to defend Europe against alien threats; the fatigued, self-doubting, weak-kneed intellectuals… but no, now I am descending to the level of Pascal Buckner, the rebel king of the Left Bank.