The Lesser Evil

The Lesser Evil

Political Ethics in An Age of Terror

Book - 2004
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In the age of terrorism, the temptations of ruthlessness can be overwhelming. But there is also the anxiety that a violent response to violence makes us morally indistinguishable from our enemies.

There is perhaps no greater political challenge today than trying to win the war against terrorism without losing our democratic souls. Michael Ignatieff confronts this challenge head-on with a combination of pragmatic idealism, historical sensitivity, and astute political judgment.

Ignatieff traces the modern history of terrorism and counter-terrorism from the nihilists of Czarist Russia and the militias of Weimar Germany to the IRA and Al Qaeda. He shows how the most potent response to terror has been force, decisive and direct, but--just as important--restrained. Restraint also gives democracy its strongest weapon: the moral power to endure when the furies of vengeance and hatred are spent.

Finalist for the 2004 Lionel Gelber Award

"An impeccably argued case for how to balance security and liberty in the face of the new kind of threat posed by today's terrorists…"-- Publishers Weekly

Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Canada, 2004.
ISBN: 9780143017356
Characteristics: xii, 212 p. --


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Feb 01, 2009

This is the 47th of a series of titles selected by writer Yann Martel to provide to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to encourage an appreciation of the arts and literature in particular in the PM, and to also help him with his stillness and thoughtfulness. Martel has regularly sent books from a wide range of literary traditions to Harper, and has devoted a Web site to the book list and his kind and considered covering letters with each volume.

Harper should probably familiarize himself with at least one book from this particular author's oeuvre, eh?

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