Showing posts from May, 2013

The Reactionary Mind, by Corey Robin

I just finished reading Corey Robin's The Reactionary Mind. I read it in too haphazard and long-winded a manner to write any sort of proper review, so I'm going to limit myself to a few disjointed observations.

The first is that I'm breaking the cardinal rule of reviewing, because as I discovered relatively quickly this just isn't the kind of book I like. Even where it's on its point - disappointingly rarely - the main thrust of the argument Robin wants to make is historical: to look at Edmund Burke, or Thomas Hobbes, or Antonin Scalia, and fit them within a long-running current of conservative thought. That kind of exercise is, to me, far less interesting than a conceptual exposition of what conservatism is and whether it's right.

Those, of course, aren't entirely separable, but that ends up being more harm than help to Robin. He's not in the slightest sympathetic to the conservative cause, and the result is passages like this:
"From revolutions, con…