Janan Ganesh on the relative absence of ‘imperial neurosis’, a comment by American Writer

‘It is easy for foreigners to read imperial nostalgia into something much more parochial. The terminal point of empire is introspection, not a restless desire to do it all over again. Introspection is bad enough but the British cannot be guilty of that and the opposite at the same time. Outsiders are free to fault us, if they pick the right fault.’


The usual Ganesh self-congratulatory polemical chatter gives way to the above paragraph, and the part that I find truly fascinating, which I have italicized, and emphasized by making it bold : ‘the British cannot be guilty of that and the opposite at the same time.’ The reader is tempted to say, that somehow Mr. Ganesh has missed  the fact that the ‘British’ are more than capable of partaking of this combination of Keats’ ‘Negative Capability’ and Orwell’s ‘Double Think’!

American Writer

P.S. Imperial neuroses? The Age of Freud is no more!


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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