Tag: Daniel Bell

Neo-Nazi Fathers, Jewish Mothers, and Political Converts

I’ve got a piece in The New Yorker—my first—on political conversions. I look at the case of Derek Black, a white nationalist who is no longer a white nationalist, and Max Boot. With the help of Burke, Arendt, Isaac Deutscher, and Daniel Bell, I try and make sense of why it is that you so often see converts from left to right—and why they have such an impact on the right—but don’t often see converts from right to left with nearly the same impact. (Incidentally, that was a topic—converts from right to left—that I wrote about nearly 20 years in Lingua Franca.) Anyway, here’s a taste: Derek Black didn’t become a white supremacist. He was born one. His father, Don Black, […]

What Michael Rogin means to me, particularly in the Age of Trump: Traditional politics matters!

A Facebook post by Lisa Duggan reminds me of the power of Michael Rogin’s book The Intellectuals and McCarthy. Though it’s less famous and influential than Rogin’s later book Ronald Reagan, The Movie, The Intellectuals and McCarthy was a formative text in my own development. It came at a critical moment in my thinking—either the year before I went to graduate school or in my first year of graduate school—and permanently left its mark. In his book on McCarthy, Rogin took aim at historians like Richard Hofstadter and social theorists like Daniel Bell who had argued that McCarthyism was essentially a form of irrational mass politics, a midcentury American populism that, though right-wing, was the inheritor of left-wing movements like the Populists or Young Bob LaFollette’s movement in the 1920s […]

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, […]