The Imperial Temptation
March 15, 1987
The imperial presidency in the United States has staged a comeback some 13 years after the fall of Richard Nixon. Both the recent renewal of presidential aggrandizement and the reaction against it recall the latter days, hectic and ominous, of the Nixon presidency, when I wrote The Imperial Presidency. My argument then, as now, was that the American Constitution intends a strong presidency within an equally strong system of accountability.
The House That Jack Built
March 15, 1987
The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon and Schuster, 932 pp., $22.95) At a family gathering recorded by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Joseph Patrick Kennedy boasted: "This is the most exclusive club in the world." It was his revenge for the exclusions he had suffered in Boston and at Harvard; and revenge, as usual, shaped its bearer to the likeness of its object. Kennedy had become richer, more snobbish, and more exclusive than any of his original tormentors.
March 31, 1986
How the left rediscovered Reinhold Niebuhr.
Slaves and Slaughter
March 10, 1986
David S. Landes: Haiti's horrible history.
The Triumph of Asian-Americans
July 15, 1985
David A. Bell: How one group of immigrants found its place in America.
Last Chance for the Philippines
April 08, 1985
The script is painfully familiar: a vain and increasingly isolated leader, an ineffectual and autocratic regime, a people plagued by poverty and deprived of democracy, a Communist movement mounting a potent political and military challenge. This time the scene is the Philippines. where the ghosts of Chiang Kai-shek, Fulgencio Batista, Ngo Dinh Diem, Nguyen Van Thieu, and Anastasio Somoza haunt the Malacanang Palace of Ferdinand Marcos. The 10,000 to 20,000 peasant guerrillas of the Communist New People’s Army are not yet in a position to take over Manila.
Exiles on Easy Street
December 24, 1984
John Lahr: The bizzare story of the Stones' decadent career.
The Decline of Oratory
May 28, 1984
The fault is in the speakers, and in the hearers, too.
Pariahs and Politics
October 14, 1981
That was just Lamentations, it was not History...—Derek Walcott The idea of the responsible victim was conceived by Hannah Arendt to restore the honor of the Jews. Victimization is a disgrace; but there is no disgrace in action, or in taking the consequences. Arendt's view of Jewish complicity in the anti-Semitic crime ironically resembles the vulgar Zionist view which exaggerates the Jewish resistance to it. Both recoiled from the grim chronicle of helplessness that is more or less the political history of the Jews ("the extraordinary spectacle of a people...
October 07, 1981
Ideas, in the last century, were the masters of facts, but in this century the facts have returned to haunt them. The duty of free minds once was to discover vast new conceptions of humanity which would free more minds and smash the tyrannies; but the tyrannies generally were not smashed, they were replaced, and the vast new conceptions only reshackled the minds they were meant to free. The duty of free minds now is to discover these facts.