Patriotic Gore

This volume is particularly notable for readers of this journal for two reasons: First, some of it has appeared in these pages, and, secondly and more importantly, the truths it conveys have been a part of the core vision of Chronicles as, literally, a magazine of American culture. But I think too that there are certain flaws in Kauffman's version of the essential American culture—that culture, like others, having shown contradictions we might attribute more to human nature than to political theory.

Bill Kauffman deserves much credit for the good he has done in revising some of the cliches, the received opinions that, dominating the media and the academy, have distorted our sense of American history. Going back to original sources, reading neglected texts, and rethinking old issues, he has refreshed our sense of ourselves and of our sense of nonsense. In doing so, he has stepped on many a toe, for there are a host of political reasons why convenient myths are broadcast today with religious fervor. The self-evident collapse of liberalism has exposed to everyone what a few have long known; the rationale of Big Government, if it was ever justified, no longer holds.

A primary rationale for Leviathan has been the warmaking power, which is why Kauffman has devoted much attention to the America Firsters of 1940-41. I think it is here that Kauffman, as a revisionist who has reconstituted the sense of forgotten...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here