There is a pronounced tendency to believe that the current gridlock in American politics is unique to our times.
Such a conviction is a vivid illustration of the truth of Santayana’s observation that “Those who cannot learn history are destined to repeat it”.
This November will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
It will also be the fiftieth anniversary of a lecture delivered at Oxford University by Richard Hofstadter.
While it is a reflection on recurrent historical trends in American political thought by those on the right, it speaks directly and with profound prescience to current circumstances.
I recommend it to those on the left and center of the current political spectrum as a means of understanding the genesis of current right wing hysteria.
However, while I doubt that my advice will be taken, I most vigorously encourage those who consider themselves ardent conservatives to read it. After all, the first step in dealing with any disorder is recognizing that you suffer from it.
|(Note particularlySection IV, pp. 23-29, and Section V, pp. 29-40)|