Bernard-Henri Lévy, the left-wing French philosopher who prodded Nicholas Sarkozy’s intervention in Libya, now laments Gaddafi’s bloody death.
You can say that the man was a monster. You can replay again and again the scenes that for eight months have haunted the friends of free Libya—the images of mass executions, torture, the hangings of April 7, the prisoners who were sort of buried alive until released from their prisons by the revolution—these and so many other victims of the dictatorship. You can point out that Gaddafi had a hundred chances to negotiate, to stop it all, to save himself, and that, if he elected not to do so, if he preferred to bleed his people to the very end, he chose his fate knowingly. You can observe that the West is not necessarily in the best position to teach the rest of the world lessons about revolutionary mercy. After all, don’t the Europeans still have on their consciences the massacres of September 1792 in France? What about the women whose heads were shaved after the liberation of Paris? Mussolini hung by his feet and abused? The Ceausescus slaughtered like old cattle?
I don’t buy it. I may be an incurable romantic, or what amounts to the same thing, an unreconstructed opponent of the absolute evil that I believe the death penalty to be. There is, in the spectacle of Gaddafi’s lynching, something revolting. Worse, I fear that it will pollute the essential morality of an insurrection that had been, up to that point, almost exemplary. And anyone who knows something about revolutionary history knows that this could be the tipping point at which a democratic uprising begins to degenerate into its opposite.
Gaddafi was caught by dumb luck. Evidently, NATO didn’t know he was in that particular convoy. In anycase, Lévy’s thumbsucking over the death of a brutal tyrant is just pathetic. The ‘incurable romantic’ equates Gaddafi’s demise with his revusion to the death penalty? What a stretch. The death penalty was tailor made for monsters who deserve it. Gaddafi’s atrocities, which Lévy was fortunate not to witness, is apparently not as “revolting” as watching what the dictator had coming.
Lévy is an incurable asshole with a serious case of moral relativism.