Ruthless Enthusiasms

Michael Ignatieff

  • The Brixton Disorders: Report of an Inquiry by the Rt Hon. the Lord Scarman
    HMSO, 168 pp, £8.00, November 1981, ISBN 0 10 184270 8
  • Punishment, Danger and Stigma: The Morality of Criminal Justice by Nigel Walker
    Blackwell, 206 pp, £9.95, August 1980, ISBN 0 631 12542 6
  • Punishment: A Philosophical and Criminological Inquiry by Philip Bean
    Martin Robertson, 215 pp, £12.50, August 1981, ISBN 0 85520 391 9
  • Dangerousness and Criminal Justice by Jean Floud and Warren Young
    Heinemann, 228 pp, £14.50, October 1981, ISBN 0 435 82307 8
  • The Abuse of Power: Civil Liberties in the United Kingdom by Patricia Hewitt
    Martin Robertson, 295 pp, £15.00, December 1981, ISBN 0 85520 380 3

One of the sombre gratifications of war, as we have had recent occasion to discover, is solidarity. War taps a longing to still the quarrels of ordinary life for the sake of something in common. This is a more pervasive longing than we like to admit. Even those who speak out against war are not immune to its lure. ‘Jingoism’ is a word used to condemn the enthusiasms of others, but also to ward off their fatal attraction. Since 1945, the quarrels of peacetime in Britain have been made to seem that much more mean and interminable by the memory of wartime solidarity. Now that we have peace of a sort again, the same nostalgia preys upon the business of taking up the old quarrels.

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