The Engaged Intellect

Bernard-Henri Lévy, France's most irrepressibly public philosopher, says he's always been fighting the same adversary: "the will to purity," whether political or racial. In a long career of public causes, he has seen that ill will on the faces of Nazi sympathizers, the Soviet nomenklatura, Pakistani generals fighting against Bangladesh's independence, and Serb paramilitaries bent on ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Now he sees it in militant Islam — which he believes is perilously close to acquiring nuclear arms.

Lévy's latest book was not prompted by political theory, but brute fact: the murder of kidnapped Wall Street...

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