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Monday, April 28, 2014

"Hell on earth" and "jackbooted authoritarianism"

Sparked in part by this Robert George post--which, I must say, refers to a very serious underlying problem--I was inspired to revisit this book review (of a book by Gertrude Himmelfarb) by Richard Posner, which I think is one of his better and more enjoyable book reviews. (That's saying a lot; book reviews, which I tend generally to love, are a genre in which he does some of his best work.) 

While I'm on this inspiration kick, I would add that Ted Cruz's rather astonishing line the other day describing the Bundy standoff as a product of the Obama administration's employment of the "jackboot of authoritarianism" reminded me of one of my favorite passages from Tom Wolfe, quoted at length in this ancient post from the Volokh Conspiracy. Here's part of it:

Support [for Wolfe's view that fascism wasn't coming to America] came from a quarter I hadn't counted on. It was [Gunter] Grass, speaking in English.

"For the past hour, I have my eyes fixed on the doors here," he said. "You talk about fascism and police repression. In Germany when I was a student, they come through those doors long ago. Here they must be very slow."

Grass was enjoying himself for the first time all evening. He was not simply saying, "You really don't have so much to worry about." He was indulging his sense of the absurd. He was saying: "You American intellectuals — you want so desperately to feel besieged and persecuted!"

He sounded like Jean-François Revel, a French socialist writer who talks about one of the great unexplained phenomena of modern astronomy: namely, that the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.

Not very nice, Günter! Not very nice, Jean-François! A bit supercilious, wouldn't you say! . . .

Posted by Paul Horwitz on April 28, 2014 at 10:10 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


"The sexual revolution of the 1960s was supposed to usher in utopia and the Age of Aquarius, right? What it has produced is hell on earth"

The "a very serious underlying problem" I take it is not having more sexual freedom and equality -- something Prof. George wants less of, especially for gays -- I take it. Also, the quoted text there refers to sort of incident likely to have occurred if anything more in many cases before 1960 w/o the half-way measures in place to deal with it adequately.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 28, 2014 12:30:38 PM

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