The persistent question is what intimate failure of character causes such an accomplished, thoughtful person as Kazin to adhere with calm arrogance to a false view of both people and history?
I think Michael Kazin pretty well sums it up in his comment:
"I would welcome a review of my book by a conservative who actually read it. Unfortunately, Siegel does not fit that description. "
Kazin is a stooge. It could be argued that he has always been a stooge; perhaps the prevalence of his type in the leadership of SDS was the decisive factor in minimizing the brief trajectory of that organization as a significant factor in American political life.
Be that as it may, nobody could make Kazin look better than a bullying, long-winded, petty-bourgeois apparatchik like Fred Siegel.
It isn't allowable in serious--that is to say, non-academic--intellectual circles to dismiss Noam Chomsky as a "problematic figure." Fred Siegel has certainly not earned this privilege.
Chomsky, almost alone among American intellectuals, is listened to on the world stage, and commands the attention of progressive thinkers of all tendencies--especially the majority on the Left who, despite what Siegel has absurdly tried to argue elsewhere, have never been enchanted by post-modernism.
As William Blake said, "there are hirelings in the court and University who are paid to suppress art." Substitute "truth" for "art" and you have Siegel and whole legions of tenured frauds just like him.
Perhaps soon it will become possible to do something about that.
Obama did not win by the largest margin of any Democrat since FDR. Johnson's margin of victory over Goldwater in 1964 was quite a bit larger.
If we don't become a responsible government and live wihin our means we will loose our freedom. We have grown to believe that we are all entitled to recieve from the government. We forget that the money that government gives comes from us the tax payers. Pretty soon their will be no more money to give back.
Our species has a strong innate drive to believe in something; but sadly this isn't matched by an equally strong ability to analyse the basis on which whatever circumstances happen to help decide the particular (unconscious) prejudices we adopt. That’s why authors can gloss over “uncomfortable” aspects, and reviewers can misrepresent some of what the authors have written. Not to mention why so many inane partisan attacks (on both authors and reviewers) are made by dedicated “true believers” of every variety who “know” they’re right, and the other side is wrong?
But that’s how I species evolved, so it won’t be easy to change it.
Sounds like another attempt to admix the 19th. century dream of utopian collectivism with the chaos of 20th. century cultural monism to make a unified field theory of the prelapsarian Eden to come. Or maybe not.
What I wonder, and please excuse my oversimplification, is that if Kazin chooses to ignore all the bad parts of his pseudointellectual analysis (millions of innocent people murdered by his "heroes"), does that make him a bad man? Am I being too...judgmental?
I don't that anything epitomizes the absence of morality of the new left (as opposed to the New Left of my own college days back in the 60's) than the recent dedication of the huge, Stalinesque statue erected to honor Martin Luther King in Washington, DC.
The statue is dedicated to a man who fought for human dignity and basic fundamental rights, a man who died in Memphis attending a strike by workers fighting for their rights.
Yet the statue itself was carved by unfree workers in a totalitarian state, Communist China. That state aggressively oppresses its own minority populations (the Uighers, the Tibetans, to name a few) and maintains a huge standing army and secret police force that would put the Stasi to shame to suppress dissent within the country. No one knows how many Chinese dissidents are imprisoned in that country's gulags.
The hypocrisy is amazing. The silence of the 'mainstream' American media on this hypocrisy is even more amazing.
Taking a shot at your question, I would recommend David Horowitz's autobiographical books, such as "Radical Son."
So, has anyone written a remotely factual history of the American left in all its twists, turns and inversions? Something comparable to Bernard Lewis's explanation of Islam.
Obviously no one of the left could do this, both because lying is their essence, and because they loathe each others' deviations.
I doubt that I would read such a work, but it would good to know it exists, and to look things up in it from time to time.
.... What’s meant by socialism in these surveys is not the old ideal of public ownership of industry, but rather that government direct as much of the economy as possible ....
And that form of Leninist-leaning Mussolini-modeled modified Marxist socialism still bears the name its inventor gave it: Fascism.
And its latest ideologically-un-and-anti-American "leader," his every Angelika Maria "Geli" Raubamove buried and his every ideologically-ordained bumbling failure trumpeted as "success" by the beyond-bias/corrupt Fascist (AKA "mainstream") Media and his flanks covered by such of his murderously-rabble-rousing ratbag brown-shirt brigades as Hoffa and as ACORN and the SEIU is its neo-fuhrer.
Correction- I meant to say he gets nearly everything in my book WRONG!- Michael Kazin
I would welcome a review of my book by a conservative who actually read it. Unfortunately, Siegel does not fit that description. He gets nearly everything in my book: I criticize the CP as much as praise it, point out the flaws in the vision and strategy of the New Left and black nationalists instead of seeing them as "unambiguous" successes, and call Chomsky's political work both "crude" and foolishly contemptuous of patriotic sentiments. There's much more. But Siegel and City Journal should be ashamed for publishing this absurdly inaccurate review.