Friday, 19 October 2012
Bernard Lewis and the Dangerous Creed of Freedom
In his memoir Notes on a Century, Bernard Lewis observes that it has become “fashionable to assume that everything Western is bad”. Lewis, nonetheless, allows himself to make one “blatantly chauvinistic statement” by claiming that “the quest for knowledge” is a “peculiarly Western feature”. Throughout the past half-millennium, from the time of the earliest European Orientalists, the intellectual curiosity of Western philologists, adventurers and scholars has transcended provincialism, religion, sentiment and compliance. Notes on a Century goes a long way towards explaining why this phenomenon appears to be under threat, dwelling as we do in an era of “intellectual conformism unknown for centuries”.
The article can be read in full at the following link: