Sauerkraut Ice Cream

George Will reviews “American Conservatism: Reclaiming an Intellectual Tradition,” Edited by Andrew J. Bacevich. Being susceptible to typography-based graphics I was drawn in by the illustration. Will’s opening statement added enticement.

When assembling an anthology of writings representative of a political persuasion, the challenge is to acknowledge the persuasion’s varieties without producing a concoction akin to sauerkraut ice cream, a jumble of incompatible ingredients.

Two passages of Will’s critique sum it up. In the first, note the “however”; it betokens serious preceding quibbles.

The volume is, however, a nourishing cafeteria of writers, many of them justly forgotten but still interesting because they once were interesting.

The second passage credits Bacevich’s most inspired selection to be Joan Didion’s “1972 stiletto of an essay ‘The Women’s Movement,’ which begins, ‘To make an omelette you need not only those broken eggs but someone “oppressed” to break them.’”

Didion, who long ago contributed to National Review and in 1964 voted for Barry Goldwater, here exemplified an analytical acuity, stylistic verve and unenthralled mentality that conservatism, like other persuasions, rarely attains.

(George F. Will, “The Mind of Conservatism,” NYTimes, 4-1-20)

I confess to having to be reminded that there are, or have been at least, capable minds behind conservatism. The current scene belies it.

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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1 Response to Sauerkraut Ice Cream

  1. Eric Wayne says:

    “I confess to having to be reminded that there are, or have been at least, capable minds behind conservatism. The current scene belies it.”

    I would have agreed with this a decade ago. Sadly, liberalism has lost its mind, and for the last several years the conservative thinkers have been winning the debates, hands down. This is partly becuase the left has gone so far into extreme ideology, that thinkers like Christopher Hitchens, formerly a liberal, are now darlings of conservatives. Today’s social justice liberals can’t debate people like Jordan Peterson, Douglass Murray, Bret Weinstein, or Sam Harris without making utter fools of themselves, resorting to ad-hominem attacks mostly, and foregone conclusions based on a radical narrative that amounts to little more than academic THEORY.

    Serious intellects are not content to clamor onto a band-wagon and shout anti-oppression slogans.


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