Guilt, stirred up by leftist thinkers, is now de rigueur in the west. But Pascal Bruckner believes our soul-searching is both hypocritical and injuriousby E K / July 21, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism
by Pascal Bruckner, trans Steven Rendall (Princeton, £18.95)
According to Pascal Bruckner, we in the west suffer from neurotic guilt, a condition imposed upon us by the high priests of the left. This secular clerisy are heirs to the Christian tradition of original sin, which universalised guilt by claiming that humans are fallen and must redeem themselves. Nietzsche denounced Christian guilt as a psychic evil which forces man’s will to power in on himself. Pascal Bruckner is a latter-day Nietzschean who gives no quarter when it comes to excoriating our new moral elite.
Bruckner represents a distinct species of French intellectual. Born in 1948 and coming of age in the upheavals of 1968, he initially indulged the revolutionary fervour sweeping Paris but soon became affiliated with the nouveaux philosophes, a group of anti-Marxist intellectuals. Consisting of figures like Andre Glucksmann, Alain Finkielkraut, Bernard-Henri Levy and Jean-Marie Benoist, this cenacle may be considered France’s second generation of anti-communist thinkers.