It has often been observed that a phenomenon like Bernard-Henri Lévy could not exist in America. Lévy can be briefly described as an intellectual, but no American intellectual is famous enough to be referred to only by his initials, like BHL. That is partly because Lévy combines gifts and talents in a way that is discouraged by American specialization. Philosopher, pundit, filmmaker, activist, war correspondent, semiofficial diplomat—not to mention dashing, independently wealthy, and married to a famous actress—Lévy has many claims on public attention, and he has been a celebrity in France for some 40 years. It is fashionable for serious people to look down on BHL—all that flash, all that moralizing!—but he could only exist in a culture that honors…