Archive: September 11th, 2002

Let's agree to disagree

Compare and contrast…

Simon Schama writes an essay in which he argues that debate, dissent and argument are the building blocks of great democracies like America:

"Apparently, the dead are owed another war. But they are not. What they are owed is a good, stand-up, bruising row over the fate of America; just who determines it and for what end?"

James Lileks writes a bleat which begins as a personal narrative praising democracy but ends with a seething fury directed against those who would disagree with him:

"Don’t fret the strife you see in the daily papers. The dissenters, unbound as usual, will ruin their cause."

For Schama, a dissenter is the living embodiment of democracy at work. For Lileks, it’s a dirty word.

I guess Lileks would label Shama a dissenter and class his article as part of " the strife you see in the daily papers".

Perhaps Lileks would agree with this statement from Schama (though for different reasons):

"The notion that the parliament of tongues is, in fact, our best vindication wins few hearts and minds right now."