We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Bernard-Henri Levy's new book. He is an interesting and colorful French intellectual and psychoanalyst who considers himself to be "anti-anti-American." The book, his 30th, aspires to follow in de Toqueville's footsteps.
Quoted from the New York Magazine review:
American Vertigo, while somewhat adhering to the “footsteps of Tocqueville,” careers around, allowing him to drag the ironies out of Cooperstown (which he describes as a church), a suburban Chicago megachurch (“neo-paganist”), an anti-Semitic Indian leader, the Mall of America (“a church,” again), John Kerry (“a European at heart”), and a big retirement community (it reminds him of apartheid). He visits with clueless Hollywood liberal Sharon Stone (whom he manages to observe crossing her legs) and finds Las Vegas strippers mechanically standoffish (“the wretchedness of Eros in the land of the Puritans”). In Michigan, he marvels at the solidity of the American identity among Arab immigrants. (The book was finished before the riots broke out in Paris: “We have our crisis there, sure,” he says. “You had your riots in the nineties.”) In Dallas, at the assassination site of JFK, he wonders, “What is a myth that you no longer believe in that still functions?”
And amid all that is what seems to be his conclusion: that America is a curious sort of empire—not at all like Rome at its zenith or decline—with a particular character of individualism that he hopes will cause the country to do the good it could do in the world. He’s disappointed that we aren’t living up to our noblesse oblige responsibilities. “The reason I am so angry against neoconservatives is that they spoiled the very idea of intervention,” says the self-described Wilsonian. And he’s flabbergasted that the American left can be so accommodating to the puritanism of the right. There is, in fact, for a secular blue-stater, little in this book to disagree with: It has, at times, the reinforcement-of-a-worldview pleasures of a well-argued Frank Rich column, or, for that matter, The Daily Show.
Like many French writers, he may have a tendency to imagine that he is smarter than he is - but I would not put de Toqueville in that category. It's worth a minute to read entire review here.
This sounds interesting. Can't get it where I am right now, might mooch a copy from someone I know when I return.
But oh! The insufferable arrogance of the dirty Frogs! We have little use for them in this country, even if our lily-livered politicians and bureaucrats have forced us to unite with them. They all think they're so bloody clever.
We defeated them again and again. Then generously saved their _ in two wars. With a little help from you Yanks...