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Monday, June 02, 2014

Slouching Towards Gomorrah by Robert H. Bork

I hate stars.  I gave this book three even though I disagree vehemently with Bork, but it's kind of fun.   His jeremiadSlouching Toward Gomorrah uses Gomorrah as a metaphor for the United States. The book reminds me of the cantankerous old relative at the dinner table who can’t stop talking about how terrible things are today. One can’t even find time to pass the peas. Bork’s thesis is simple: our culture is immoral, and it’s all the liberal’s fault.

Society’s degradation has been caused by radical egalitarianism, radical feminism, popular culture, the Su­preme Court, and rock n’ roll music (which he admits never having listened to). Portable radios share much blame for they permitted youth to listen to music without parental supervision. The Internet (which he admits to never having looked at) is a quagmire of dirty pictures, political correctness, and Afro centrists. He leaves virtually no one unscathed, attacking both the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant denominations that are living in a “leftist dream world,” and have become feminized.

Bork’s solution to this state of affairs is censorship, democratization of the Supreme Court, and religion - where this religion is to be found among today’s debased denominations her does not say

The problem with this book is that it’s all assault and no finesse. Never does he engage the reader in a discussion of both sides of an issue. He creates a straw man and then knocks it over. He falls into the trap he accuses liberals of falling into; “assaulting one’s opponents as not merely wrong but morally evil.” He confuses cause with symp­toms. Never does he reveal evidence as to how the Beatles cause immoral behavior. He states simply, “Rock and rap are utterly impoverished by comparison with swing or jazz or any pre-World War II music personally, I always thought swing was the epitome of decadence] impoverished emotionally, aesthetically, and intellectually.”

Bork cannot resist name-calling. Liberals are fascist, totalitarian, and Nazi-like. Multiculturalism “is barbarism,” “feminist ideology is a fantasy of persecution.” He castigates those “cafeteria Catholics” who subscribe only to those elements of Catholicism with which they agree and then he proceeds to rebuke the Catholic Church’s call for a “just wage”, calling it “misunderstood economics.” Not an American institution escapes Bork’s wrath: the universities, colleges, government, the arts, the churches and the press have all been indoctrinated by liberals (that must be why we've elected so many Republicans in the last 25 years.)

For a self-defined conservative, Bork has some radical ideas. He would overturn the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions to be overridden by a majority vote of the Congress. He does not explain how, for example, if popular culture and society are so debased, a legislature elected by those debased people will fix Supreme Court decisions. It seems to me the whole purpose of the Supreme Court being immune to public pressure (as Franklin Roosevelt discovered to his dismay) is to provide a conservative brake on society, to constrain the short-lived stimulus of fleeting majorities. He is against an activist court. Not just liberal activism, but conservative as well, suggesting at one point that it all began with the conservative court that wrote into the constitution all sorts of free market principles that are not there. The liberals then just continued this process of activism but from a cultural perspective.

Bork is the perfect example of the circular nature of ideology, moving from far left to far right where they merge to become equally authoritarian. And what do you bet, he visited adult bookstores.

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