The New Vichy Syndrome - Encounter Books

The New Vichy Syndrome

Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism

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Publication Details

Paperback / 163 pages
ISBN: 1594035660
PUBLISHED: 10/11/11

The New Vichy Syndrome
Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism

Western Europe is in a strangely neurotic condition of being smug and terrified at the same time. On the one hand, Europeans believe they have at last created an ideal social and political system in which man can live comfortably. In many ways, things have never been better on the old continent. On the other hand, there is growing anxiety that Europe is quickly falling behind in an aggressive, globalized world. Europe is at the forefront of nothing, its demographics are rapidly transforming in unsettling ways, and the ancient threat of barbarian invasion has resurfaced in a fresh manifestation.

In The New Vichy Syndrome, Theodore Dalrymple traces this malaise back to the great conflicts of the last century and their devastating effects upon the European psyche. From issues of religion, class, colonialism, and nationalism, Europeans hold a “miserablist” view of their history, one that alternates between indifference and outright contempt of the past. Today’s Europeans no longer believe in anything but personal economic security, an increased standard of living, shorter working hours, and long vacations in exotic locales.

The result, Dalrymple asserts, is an unwillingness to preserve European achievements and the dismantling of western culture by Europeans themselves. As vapid hedonism and aggressive Islamism fill this cultural void, Europeans have no one else to blame for their plight.

About the Author

Theodore Dalrymple is a retired physician and psychiatrist. He is a contributing editor of City Journal and frequent contributor to the London Spectator, The New Criterion, and other leading magazines and newspapers.

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