29 of 116 people found the following review helpful
scathing diatribe against Liberalism
, February 7, 2014
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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