by Robert H. Bork ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 10, 1996
A former judge's stinging indictment of the havoc postmodern liberalism has wrought on the state of the American union. An eloquent, often elegant, advocate, Bork (whose ultimately aborted nomination to the US Supreme Court unleashed an ideological firestorm in mid-1987) defines latter-day liberalism as an ad hoc coalition of cultural elites (academics, ecclesiastics, entertainers, filmmakers, foundation professionals, journalists, jurists, public-interest groups, et al.) committed to a radical egalitarianism and unfettered individualism. In sorrow as well as anger, he assesses the demonstrably corrosive impact these no-fault credos have had on a host of activities and institutions. Cases in point range from the violently misogynistic lyrics of rap music through permissive sexual attitudes that have escalated teen pregnancy rates, the debasement of university curricula with trivial or spurious courses of study, insistence on equality of outcomes as well as opportunity, and the emergence of moral relativism as an acceptable alternative to traditional values. Citing an increasing incidence of self-segregation by ethnic minorities, a discernible rise in anti-intellectualism, antipathy toward mainstream religions, the left's intolerance of dissent, and a half-hearted approach to crime and punishment, Bork (The Tempting of America, 1989, etc.) decries liberalism's capacity for divisiveness. He also condemns ""killing for convenience"" (abortion, assisted suicide) and activist judges who usurp the power of the people with decisions that owe more to political correctness than statutory or constitutional authority. The author is by no means sanguine on the score of whether the US can reverse its long-terra slide. To do so, he concludes, the populace will have to regain control over increasingly coercive government bureaucracies and court systems that have been setting an agenda decidedly at odds with majority wishes. A thoughtful conservative's devastating judgment on intemperate liberalism, one that seems sure to reopen the bitter national debate over individual rights and responsibilities.
Pub Date: Oct. 10, 1996
Page Count: 336
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996
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