Blinkered thinking

Complete coincidence that I read this article in The Guardian on the same day I finished The Name of the Rose, but I think there are interesting parallels (how appropriate given Eco’s fondness for inter-textuality!). It’s an account of the Scottish academic Malcolm Caldwell who, due to his overweening passion for communist doctrine, was convinced that rather than perpetrating one of the most horrific atrocities ever seen, the Khmer Rouge were turning Cambodia into a socialist utopia.

Contains a powerful warning against placing too much faith in the views of those you trust: Caldwell used the fact that Noam Chomsky, whom he greatly admired, had rubbished an account of the genocide, to ignore other evidence that said the same. The terrible irony was that Caldwell was killed whilst visiting Cambodia, after a meeting with Pol Pot (the motive for the murder has never been authoritatively established).

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