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Elites on both sides of the Atlantic are animated by hatred of the West and denounce it vehemently in an attempt to make the West feel eternally guilty for its past wrongs, and think that anyone who stands up for Western Europe or nations such as Israel or the United States is beyond the pale of respectability.
Bruckner sees in this attitude an inverted superiority complex, a sort of "You don't realize how evil Europe, America, and Western Civilization are and I do, therefore I'm more moral and enlightened than you are" type of preening narcissistic grandstanding.
The author acknowledges the West's crimes, but states that Europe, unlike Islam, is "like a jailer who throws you into prison and slips you the keys to your cell", bringing the world both despotism and liberty. For example, the West did not invent slavery, but played a major role in its abolition. Bruckner states that no country was not founded on crime and coercion, but only the West's crimes are remembered by the elites, who have one set of rules for designated victim nations and another, more stringent set for designated oppressor nations.
Bruckner thinks that Europe's guilty conscience stems from a desire to withdraw after the horrors of the twentieth century. Europe, he believes, does not feel that it any longer has the moral authority to stand up to evil, so instead it tolerates the evil around it, leading it to "take up residence in a peaceful hell".
The author provides suggestions for Europe to get out of its funk, such as having a statute of limitations for past offenses that have been repented of--being forever chained to the past injects emotional paralysis and does not free one to live in the present.
Bruckner examines European anti-Semitism, and closes this remarkable volume by comparing France to the United States, showing that America does not have the anti-West mindset to the same degree that Europe does.
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