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A possible Reason

Reader comment on item: A Return to the Academy

Submitted by Ron Thompson, Apr 5, 2017 at 15:31

Besides Dr Pipes' examples of "trivialities" and "trifling micro-topics", I've had the unnerving experience of looking through a private library with hundreds of such titles. It seems impossible to have a serious discussion with anyone who takes such topics as the most important History.

But there may be a reason that so much energy has moved in such diversionary and even escapist directions.

Could it be that the dramatic cleavage in our politics on domestic economic and social issues over the last 30 years has caused many to conflate any strong stand in foreign policy with extreme partisanship on those domestic issues?

One looks in vain, as I have, for any figure comparable to FDR in the 1930's who looked to relieve domestic economic distress while at the same time being utterly clear-minded about the evils of Hitlerism. Or for a Harry Truman in the 1940's who defended unions and sought to advance civil rights while setting up the international infrastructure against militant Communism (and who had the decisiveness to drop the A-bomb).

Or even for a Dwight Eisenhower who in the 1950's built up the military, but refused to erode the safety net of the general population or approve deficit-increasing tax cuts for the rich even when the top marginal rate was 70%.

Instead of these blends of ameliorative domestic policies along with muscular foreign policies, we now have a politics of mushiness on the Left both domestically and in foreign policy, and on the Right a militance equally in foreign and domestic policy.

Indeed, if anyone gave a speech on this thesis, he would probably get brickbats from opposite political directions, quite possibly from everyone in the audience - such a House Divided we have become.

In this environment, is it any wonder that Escapism rather than Realism has overtaken the field which should most particularly avoid escapism?

Ron Thompson

PS, In reading Dr Pipes' wide-ranging 1990 article on Muslims and Islam in the modern world, I was both fascinated and a little unsettled - fascinated because so many of his Facts have proven prophetic, and deserve to be re-read and pondered, but a little unsettled because, on the evidence, it would seem his view of the future should have been much more ominous, as indeed that future has become.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

Yes, the Left has changed focus from economics to issues of identity. The economy is better off for that but the rest of life is more perilous.

I too find it interesting to return to that 1990 article to see what I got right and wrong.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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