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29 of 116 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars scathing diatribe against Liberalism, February 7, 2014
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This review is from: The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class (Hardcover)
This is a very difficult book to rate as it has much to praise but so unrelenting in its attack on Liberalism and so selective in its invective that I'm wary of recommending it.

First the praise. Siegel, the scholar, gives a very interesting spin on the etiology of present day Liberalism. His portraits of who he considers the guiding lights of the movement are illuminating and damning. The main characteristic of this crew, Mencken, Huxley, Mill, Lewis, Macdonald et.al,a contempt for the mass of Americans, their aspirations, their culture, and , most of all their ability to govern effectively. While one certainly can find issue with his emphasis on their most outlandish proclamations, the historical perspective is really the best part of the book. The rest is just hard to come to grips with as Liberalism, according to Siegel, is morally bankrupt, with little to redeem it.

While Liberalism in America is the focus of this book, it seems absurd to discuss a movement without really coming to grips with the alternatives. While Obama is seen as the logical result of Liberalism, not enough attention is paid to the simple fact that Obama would not have even been a viable candidate except for a criminal war brought about by the neo-cons. When talking about the ascendancy of Obama it is ludicrous to not even mention once Sarah Palin, certainly the least qualified candidate in modern times.

One of Siegel's recurring themes is the intellectual snobbery of Liberalism. While listening to Siegel recently on cable, he made a revealing admission that he no longer teaches at Cooper Union, not because he wants to devote more time to writing, not because he is tired of teaching, not that his students were increasingly lazy, dull and selfish. If any of these had been the reason he gave I would never have given it any notice. THE reason Siegel gives is that these students, who he describes as very nice and intelligent, are not sufficiently well read and he felt he really couldn't talk to them. REALLY? Now as a lifelong educator the students who were most rewarding to teach were those students who were intelligent, nice and in need of having their horizon's broadened. Mr. Siegel, I hate to inform you that students who are intelligent AND well read probably don't really need you, especially if one of the life lessons you will give them is a model of intellectual snobbery
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Showing 1-10 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 9, 2014, 8:13:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 9, 2014, 8:19:58 AM PST
It is well established that Palin had far more experience than Obama, not just in terms of days in office but also in terms of executive experience. Echoing the myth that she didn't is silly, weakens your assertion, and makes you look biased.

Also, if the "criminal war bought about by the neo-cons", was actually criminal why did the democrats in the legislature approve of it? Can you provide evidence that it was "criminal" or "brought about by the neo-cons"? Which "neo-cons" are you referring to?

Thanks for the review.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2014, 10:07:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 9, 2014, 10:23:04 AM PST
A. K. Berg says:
No argument with your points about "paper" credentials. Just watch "Game Change" to get an entertaining view of lack simple knowledge of world that Palin had. However, you are absolutely right that experience-wise Obama was simply not ready for the highest office either. Palin's ignorance was just flat out scary to the mass of Independent voters and what she has said subsequently doesn't change that image.
"Criminal" in the sense of cherry picked intelligence to support a pre-determined war that has so far cost 5000 young American lives. "Criminal" in the sense of criminal negligence for the lack of support for the troops and non-existent post -"mission accomplished" planning. Can you just hear Rumsfeld answering his critics about lack of proper equipment saying "you go to war with the army you have"--as if WE didn't decide the start of the conflict. Just ask Colin Powell about his ludicrous UN presentation. As far as Democrats who voted for it, they were cowards or dupes. There is malfeasance on both sides here. My point was that Obama was successful largely because the majority of voters agreed with him by 2008. The neo-con intelligentsia along with Cheney were the driving force of the fiasco. Remember Bush ran in 2000 with the basic premise that nation building, especially in that part of the world, was just not feasible.
My main criticism of Siegel's book is his extreme bias to the point of distortion. Just one example: Now, Castro is a ruthless dictator, no question, and liberals who idolized him and Che SHOULD be taken to task. But on page 133 Siegel makes the assertion that Castro was an "admirer" of Franco, without the least bit of documentation. Truth, Castro was complimentary of the education he received from pro-Franco Jesuits and he did say that he was amazed that, in spite of vociferous condemnation of Franco by himself, Spain almost alone in the Western world refused to bend to US pressure to ostracize Cuba. He, very begrudgingly respected Franco's independence on this matter , but never disavowed his disapproval of Franco's regime. Perhaps this seems like a quibble but to me it is a willful distortion used to support his one-sided thesis.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2014, 10:21:25 AM PST
A. K. Berg says:
Neo-con is a somewhat vague term but prominent among those identified as such supporting the ill-fated venture were Kagen, Boot, Bolton and Kristoll

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2014, 7:18:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 13, 2014, 7:20:47 AM PST
Kent Clizbe says:
A.K.,

Excellent observation.

The silly attempt to equate Castro and Franco is part of the PJ-Media neo-con crowd's supporting one another. Siegel relies on the amateur "history" of his buddy Jonah Goldberg's silly "Liberal Fascism" to shape his thesis. They are all about equating today's (and historical) Progressivism with Nazi/Fascists.

This allows them to conveniently ignore the actual roots of Politically Correct Progressivism.

The actual roots of PC-Progressivism are revealed and analyzed in my book: Willing Accomplices: How KGB Covert Influence Agents Created Political Correctness and Destroyed America

Siegel simply ignored the entire arena that was (evidently) invisible to him, espionage.

But just because he doesn't see it doesn't mean that it was not there.

Along with PC-Prog historians whom he seems to despise, Siegel simply pretends that his ignorance is reality. Sorry, Siegel. Your ignorance just requires that you listen to experts in the field. Next time, do your homework outside your cloistered PJ echo-chamber. Stan Evans has done yeoman's work laying the foundations for a real analysis in his many histories of KGB espionage.

For a quick explanation of the roots, causes, personalities, and results of the espionage operations that created today's PC-Progs, see this video:

http://my.brainshark.com/Willing-Accomplices-Why-do-Progressives-Hate-America-121281394?intk=60544102

Posted on Feb 16, 2014, 6:48:40 AM PST
David says:
How in the world was Sarah Palin less qualified than Obama? Obama had never accomplished or overseen anything at all. Palin was a Governor.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2014, 7:36:18 AM PST
A. K. Berg says:
Look David, I've got no argument as to Obama's lack of experience, but when I refer to Palin I'm not just talking about her executive experience. In fact, she was a fairly pragmatic governor, who might indeed have been a "game changer" for the Republicans. Her profound lack of knowledge about the world outside of Alaska as evidenced any time she deviated from the "script" scared the hell out of the mass of undecided voters. My point about Palin was that her level of unpreparedness to be a heartbeat away was a key factor in Obama's victory. SHOULD that have been the case?? That was NOT what I was arguing-----I was just trying to say that Obama's victory(victories) are very much a result of Republican failure to appeal to the undecided. In other words Obama, as Bush in 2004 could be viewed as the default victor. Kerry ran a miserable campaign and it is no mystery why he lost. Whether Obama was more qualified than Palin is certainly debatable. That the majority view her as less qualified is pretty clear. That a young, ambitious, energetic and attractive political figure decided NOT to run when the field was wide open in 2012 is an indication that she realized this too

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2014, 10:58:51 AM PST
Duke Smith says:
You called the war in Iraq a criminal act when the go-ahead decision was bi--partisan and in fact Biden, Hillary, Reid, and Kerry voted for it along with about 100 other Democrats. If your point was that Obama won because most of the voters "agreed" with him, that's rather obvious, but you backtrack from your original "criminal act" comment.
There is ample evidence that Castro "admired" Franco, and if Siegel was lazy because he didn't provide a source, you are equally lazy for failing to provide evidence that his book contained a "willful distortion"; which, by the way, highlights your own bias.
Following Franco's death, Castro ordered a week of mourning (Georgie Ann Geyer, Fidel and Franco: The Ultimate Odd Couple. Wall Street Journal, July 12, 1991, p A 11).
http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0SO8zAcCgFTnFQAUKNXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzbGdwcGFmBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMgRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1NNRTM5OV8x/SIG=12seoe59t/EXP=1392605852/**http%3a//www.ascecuba.org/publications/proceedings/volume13/pdfs/cuzan.pdf

Posted on Feb 16, 2014, 11:00:05 AM PST
although this is supposed to be a forum for book reviews, I simply have to correct this reviewer's false assertion that Sarah Palin was the
"least qualified candidate in modern times."

as the popular governor of a state, Sarah Palin had roughly 100% more executive experience than Barack Obama. the folly of electing someone because he's cool should be obvious to us now.

as far as the book: after reading these reviews, I'm definitely going to buy it. anything that can get under the progs' skin has got to be worthwhile.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2014, 11:22:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2014, 12:45:10 PM PST
Publicus says:
Plus, Palin was running for Vice President, a position with little decision making responsibility or substance, absent a tie in the Senate or the death of a President.

The Vice Presidency merely gives a person a chance to travel, gain additional public recognition, & acquire greater insights into the workings of the federal government.

And Mr. Clizbe, thank you, thank you, thank you for writing your book & calling these things to people's attention. I just ordered it on Amazon!

That being said, I do believe that progressivism set the stage for acceptance of what the clandestine Soviet agents of influence were preaching. And those secret agents were only part of a multi-prong, highly effective attack on America, hoping to subvert & convert it to communism.

Here's the progression (no pun intended)

http://jonjayray.tripod.com/amerfasc.html

http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=8183

http://www.conservativecrusader.com/articles/title-political-correctness-tool-of-marxism

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2014, 11:29:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2014, 11:32:21 AM PST
To A.K. Berg
I am interested in knowing on what basis you characterize the intelligence reporting as "cherry-picking." Were you working in the Intelligence Community and thus had access to these reports? If you had no first hand knowledge of them, then are you just parroting what some partisan was reading off of talking points?
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