THE BETRAYAL OF THE WEST by Jacques Ellul

THE BETRAYAL OF THE WEST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ever since the publication of his brilliant The Technological Society (1964), the American reputation of Jacques Ellul--Resistance fighter, law professor, sociologist, philosopher, and theologian--has been steadily growing. Like all of Ellul's books, this one tackles a vast topic with passionate insight and logic, and as usual the result is provocative and readable. But this time around the thinking is so apocalyptic and the language so intemperate that even Ellul partisans may object. ""The West has been betrayed: its own children now heap sarcasm and insult upon it, and no one, even if he be still willing to think of himself as a European, will accept now the accusation of being a 'Westerner.'"" The scornful children are the intellectuals, especially leftists, who have abandoned the classic Western values of reason, individuality, and freedom, for the sake of their one-dimensional, self-serving ideologies. But Ellul holds no brief for the Right either: ""The Right has no future, no legitimacy, no existence."" So thorough has the betrayal been that ""now. . . there is nothing left. Western history is finished."" But the book has more to offer than dismal jeremiads. There are penetrating critiques of Marxist political hypocrisy, of the Utopian mentality, of trendy nihilism, etc. Ellul attacks the crimes of the West and defends its achievements with forceful eloquence. For all its excesses, this is a compelling prophetic statement--impossible to accept in toto and impossible to ignore.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
Publisher: Seabury