Tuesday, October 21, 2003


As someone who has read and enjoyed just about all the Agatha Christie novels, I was pleased to see that Johann Hari finds a lot of good things to say about her instead of dismissing her in the usual way as just another writer of “Whodunits”. She does of course evoke in her novels the orderly world of British middle-class life as she knew it and Hari recognizes that such scenarios are attractive.

But his claim that she was propagandizing for a world of “Burkean conservatism” is fanciful. She just used the world she knew best for her backdrops. She used Iraq and Egypt as backdrops too (her husband was an archaeologist) so does that mean she was defending Islam?

What Hari is really attacking is a straw man. He claims that Burkean conservatives believe in a natural, immutable order of things -- which is balderdash. What they DO believe in is a largely immutable human nature -- and there is any amount of evidence for that view.


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