Tag: Abu Ghraib

Protocols of Machismo, Part 2: On the Hidden Connection Between Henry Kissinger and Liza Minnelli

Yesterday, I posted Part 1 of this excerpt from Chapter 9 of The Reactionary Mind. Today, I post Part 2. • • • • •   What is it about being a great power that renders the imagining of its own demise so potent? Why, despite all the strictures about the prudent and rational use of force, are those powers so quick to resort to it? Perhaps it is because there is something deeply appealing about the idea of disaster, about manfully confronting and mastering catastrophe. For disaster and catastrophe can summon a nation, at least in theory, to plumb its deepest moral and political reserves, to have its mettle tested, on and off the battlefield. However much leaders and […]

Protocols of Machismo: On the Fetish of National Security, Part I

As part of my ongoing series of short takes from The Reactionary Mind, I excerpt here chapter 9, “Protocols of Machismo.” This chapter originally appeared as a review essay in the London Review of Books in 2005. Because that piece remains behind the firewall, I’ve decided to reproduce the chapter here in its entirety: Part 1 today, Part 2, I hope, tomorrow. In the last several months, I’ve spent much time defending the state against both libertarians and anarchists. In this chapter, however, I go after the state and one of its most powerful and primary fetishes: the doctrine of national security. I also expand beyond my analysis of conservative intellectuals, taking on prominent liberal theorists like Michael Walzer and, […]