A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES by Robert W. Whitaker

A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A self-styled ""populist"" proclamation of general fed-upness with the ""twin establishments"" of ""professional liberals and professional conservatives."" The chief target is the liberals, whom Whitaker berates for profiting from ever-more unreasonable forms of social manipulation--from busing to costly criminal-rehabilitation programs. He goes through American history facilely tracing a cycle of populist revolt against the tyranny of the elite, followed by elitist co-optation and betrayal of populist aims until the next uprising. In his opinion the time has come for another reckoning, heralded by such ""literary populists"" as Hoffer, von DÄniken, and Ardrey--all in their way anathema to an establishment dominated by academic orthodoxy. The voice of the people, says Whitaker, can be a terrifying thing (at times ""oppressively fundamentalist, chauvinistic, and racist""), but it cannot be stilled forever. He sees George Wallace as the nearest thing to an authentic populist spokesman, but now backtracking into establishment alliances. With the smothering pointy-head domination of national policies, and with the absence of a real populist champion, a reaction may be at hand that will make the McCarthy era look like a picnic. Whitaker's indignation is at times appealing, but his analysis leans toward belligerent and unreliable generalizations.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1976
Publisher: McKay