Turning Rights into Wrongs

How Democracies Perish was the subject, as well as the title, of an important book by Jean-Francois Revel. M. Revel is a hardheaded journalist who takes little interest in political theory, but he is a keen observer of the corruption into which the states of the West have fallen.

When I had drinks with him a few years ago, much of talk was about the corruption of the Mitterrand regime. Ruling classes almost always turn out to be venal and corrupt, and I regret not asking him to delineate the common characteristics that stamp Mitterrand's socialists, as well as Democrats and Republicans in the United States, with the same mark of the beast that was so visible on the foreheads of the Soviet nomenclatura. Ossified in their mediocrity, stupid in the conviction of their God-given right to rule, for sale, like the friends of Henry Kissinger, not to the highest bidder, for that would take intelligence, but to any bidder, the latter-day Communists of the East and the Social Democrats of the West understood each other all too well. No wonder George Bush protested, when conservatives were wary of a Soviet leader who had formerly headed the KGB. At the time, we thought Mr. Bush was simply being obtuse, when he compared his own position, as former CIA director, with that of Mr. Andropov. It took someone as paranoid as Andrei Navrozov to realize the truth. The principal difference between their side and ours is that while...

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