Philosophical Apprentice, on the political toxin of ‘History Made to Measure’.
The reader has to recognize that Martin Wolf , by linking to Kagan and Frum’s essays, of the two of the most notorious Neo-Cons, signals the complete rehabilitation of these political actors, it is now an accomplished fact! Back into the fold has its advantages, like enjoying the benefits of bourgeois political respectability, wedded to an exploitable intellectual viability.
Neo-Con Mr. Kagan will never recognize the power of brevity, in his 5,568 episodic political melodrama. Noting, that the Strussians are practitioners of a weapon for sowing political discord, by exhausting the readers patience and blunting her critical facility, in the interest of a corrupt politics. The reader need only turn her attention to Anne Applebaum’s republished essay, of August 31, of 2021, to view, in situ, the Straussian Method: this is a 7,896 word monstrosity.
Headline: The New Puritans
Sub-headline: Social codes are changing, in many ways for the better. But for those whose behavior doesn’t adapt fast enough to the new norms, judgment can be swift—and merciless
Not mentioned by any of these writers is the publication in 1973 of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s ‘The Imperial Presidency’! Here is an excerpt from a 1980 essay by Louis W. Koenig:
Among the innumerable books published about the American presidency in the nearly two centuries of the office’s existence, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.’s Imperial Presidency holds a unique place.’ Published in 1973, the book’s title remains part of the American political lexicon. Mention presidency in a word association test administered to any number of politicians, civil servants, academics, and others tolerably informed about the office, and the likelihood is that the word imperial will figure prominently in the results. Adding to the book’s impact are Schlesinger’s previous writings and service in a presidential administration, a record in sharp contrast to the theme of his book. His earlier works were laudatory chronicles of the presidencies of Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Kennedy, which, with his service in the latter’s presidency, were encouraging to other writers, especially in the 1960s, in building their cases for an activist presidency. The Imperial Presidency is a 180-degree turnaround from this previous record. Writing in 1973, when the unpopularity of the Vietnam war was reaching a crescendo and Richard Nixon’s abuses of power were surfacing and straining the credence of shocked citizens, Schlesinger’s contention that presidential power had attained a state of extreme aggrandizement seemed justified and aptly timed. In an extended analysis, he argued that Watergate and the Vietnam war were not isolated aberrations but the long-building climaxes of rampant presidential power that had been set in the direction of abuse soon after the office commenced its operations in 1789. The rock on which the imperial presidency rests is the phenomenon of presidential wars, launched simply by the chief executive’s fiat. Innumerable small-scale hostilities were initiated in the nineteenth century; more elaborate conflicts were waged by Tyler, Polk, and above all Lincoln in the Civil War. In the twentieth century such wars were conducted on the scale of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. The spreading use of executive agreements and ever broadening executive privilege were other ingredients that made foreign policy the principal arena of the imperial presidency. Particularly since World War II, according to Schlesinger, “the image of the President acting by himself in foreign affairs, imposing his own sense of reality and necessity on a waiting government and people became the new orthodoxy.” In domestic affairs, the rise of social programs, such as the New Deal and the Great Society, and the expansion of a national economy dominated by interstate business and amenable to control through national regulation, enlarged the imperial presidency’s domain.
The ‘as if’ of all three of these writers is that the ‘historical somehow’ of Trump had no historical precursors: in the ever growing power of the president, ripe for abuse by the political villainy of Trump.
The value of History Made to Measure , as practiced by Wolf, Kagan and Frum, is the subtraction of bothersome detail, like Schlesinger’s historical intervention, is not just rendered moot, but is subject to an ideological erasure.