Item description for Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline by Robert H. Bork...
Overview A revised edition, featuring a new introduction and epilogue, charges that moral troubles are compromising the foundation of America, arguing that conservative beliefs are becoming part of mainstream society and calling for an end to modern liberalism. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.
In this New York Times bestselling book, Robert H. Bork, our country's most distinguished conservative scholar, offers a prophetic and unprecedented view of a culture in decline, a nation in such serious moral trouble that its very foundation is crumbling: a nation that slouches not towards the Bethlehem envisioned by the poet Yeats in 1919, but towards Gomorrah.
Slouching Towards Gomorrah is a penetrating, devastatingly insightful expose of a country in crisis at the end of the millennium, where the rise of modern liberalism, which stresses the dual forces of radical egalitarianism (the equality of outcomes rather than opportunities) and radical individualism (the drastic reduction of limits to personal gratification), has undermined our culture, our intellect, and our morality.
In a new Afterword, the author highlights recent disturbing trends in our laws and society, with special attention to matters of sex and censorship, race relations, and the relentless erosion of American moral values. The alarm he sounds is more sobering than ever: we can accept our fate and try to insulate ourselves from the effects of a degenerating culture, or we can choose to halt the beast, to oppose modern liberalism in every arena. The will to resist, he warns, remains our only hope.
Citations And Professional Reviews Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline by Robert H. Bork has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 175
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Robert H. Bork, who died December 19, 2012, was the author of two New York Times best sellers, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline and The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law, and several other books, including A Time to Speak, Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges, and The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself. A Distinguished Fellow of Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., and formerly the Tad and Dianne Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Bork served as the United States solicitor general from 1973 to 1977. Before becoming a partner in the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, Bork served in the United States Marine Corps. He taught for nineteen years at Yale University Law School and was named to the Alexander M. Bickel Chair of Public Law in 1980. Bork was the circuit judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1982 to 1988, and a distinguished scholar at the American Enterprise Institute from 1988 to 2003. At the time of his death, he was a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute.
Reviews - What do customers think about Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline?
recommended Jul 22, 2006
Reading much of the conservative literature, one can easily get the impression that conservatives are ill-informed, prejudiced and given to widely illogical arguments to advance their causes. Bork is different. He is well-read, careful in his reasoning and respectful of the opinions he disagrees with. One of the ironic side-effects of this reasonableness is that conservative readers will not be enthusiastic about Bork's book because it does not shout their claims with the vindictiveness and emotional abandon they can find in other authors.
Another unfortunate side-effect is that the people who most need to confront these arguments, even if they ultimately disagree with them, will not read this book because it bears the label "conservative."
The first two chapters provide a capsule history of the Left-driven events of the 1960s. In the next two chapters, Bork ventures out of his depth into political philosophy with a discussion of freedom and the limits to freedom, in which he conveniently ignores all the philosophical writing on the subject in the past hundred years. Readers interested in these problems should consult the book What Freedom Is.
In succeeding chapters, he discusses the opinion-shapers of our society (schools, press, TV, pop music), the Supreme Court, popular culture, crime, abortion, feminism, race, education, and religion, finding them all dominated by Leftwing thinking.
For instance, here is some of his take on race. "Affirmative action...is a perfect prescription for racial animosity." (p. 231). Bork discusses the changes in affirmative action law and practice from a temporary outreach program whose purpose was to find qualified minority candidates into a quota system and then into a system of preference based on race. He indicates the thousands of remedies available if discrimination is provable and says that this has led to the invention of the idea of "institutional racism", pointing out that this notion is "simply an admission that actual discrimination cannot be shown." (p. 237). These practices also are "inflicting permanent harm on individuals [white males] who have done nothing wrong." (p. 241).
My major problems with this book are the use of high-level generalizations or abstractions as explanatory factors, especially "-isms". Individualism and egalitarianism are frequently cited as causes of the decline of American culture. Such broad claims would be impossible to support with evidence.
Like most people, Bork is unaware of how the Left managed to get itself so thoroughly in control of so many American institutions, especially since it (the Left) appeared to be finished in the late 1970s. For a blow-by-blow account of how and why this happened, see The Rape of Alma Mater. Some of his generalizations, however, are accurate: "The splintering of the New Left proved to be an advantage because the movement became less visible." (p. 53). "Yet these groups are in touch with one another and often come together in a coalition on specific issues." (p. 53). "The transformation of the New York Times illustrates what has happened to prestige journalism generally." (p. 52).
The current climate in America is beautifully illustrated by a case that Bork cites: "In a faculty sensitivity session at the University of Cincinnati a woman was forced to stand up and be mocked as `a member of the privileged white elite' because she was blond, blue-eyed and well educated." (p. 246).
For a broader perspective from a Moderate point of view, see the new While America Sleeps: How Islam, Immigration and Indoctrination Are Destroying America From Within. In spite of the provocative title, this is a thoroughly documented, carefully reasoned book.
North Vietnam Won Because of the American Left Jun 13, 2006
Robert Bork shows how the left wing elites have worked to try to destroy our Judeo-Christian heritage. He has a pithy way of expressing the way we have lost our moral bearings in a manner which compromises public morals. For instance, when it comes to raunchy programming, he cites Michael Medved to the effect that saying "Don't like it, just turn if off" is like saying "Turn off the smog if you don't like it." Bork suggests that Rush Limbaugh is popular because he is like the underground satirists in the old Soviet Union. Most interesting is his description of how the left wing caused America to lose in Vietnam. Bork cites Bui Tin, a former North Vietnames military official, who makes it clear that the US antiwar movement gave the North Vietnamese confidence, even in the face of military defeats, that US resolve would crumble with time. Intrigued, I looked up the cited article in the August 3, 1995 WALL STREET JOURNAL, p. A8, and found it quite revealing. But I suspected all this long ago. Even as a child in the 1960's, long before I even knew what a liberal was, I noticed the inordinate media attention to the antiwar movement and almost total silence on the cruelties of the Communists.
PROBABLY WORTH READING Jan 8, 2006
In this book, Bork explores America's swing to the left since the 60's, and how it has sent the country 'slouching Towards Gomorrah'. All the major political issues of the day are included here, from abortion to the O.J. Simpson case. Bork's legal philosophy is explained, and he points out how insane our mindset has become, in that ideas once thought crazy are now accepted without question. As expected, numerous examples of left wing madness are given, and these alone probably make the book worth reading.
Unfortunately, there is little new in this book from a conservative perspective. Educated readers will have heard most of the arguments before, and so one learns little from the work.
One can also take issue with some of his views, even from a right perspective. Bork supports censorship, for instance, citing pornography and filthy rap and rock lyrics. Here here is on very dangerous ground. For who would do the censoring? As things stand now, the liberal elite might be in charge of that, and they are unlikely to stop much obscenity. And even if they did, it would surely go hand in hand with censorship of conservative opinion. Politically incorrect statements and works would be banned as 'offensive'. I doubt Bork would like that.
Shortsighted tripe about an America that never was. Nov 1, 2005
I always laugh at radical conservatives that long for "the good old days". Like most righties, Bork thinks America should revert to a more simple time. A time when blacks knew their place, women stayed pregnant and silent, the average life span was 50 years, and the police ( J. Edgar Hoover was the worst one of the bunch)could spy on an unsuspecting public with impunity. You betcha!! Those were "the good old days". I suppose, speaking from a strict constructionist perspective of course, that we should repeal all the amendments of the constitution. I mean, the founding fathers were infallible right? If that happened we would still have slavery, and only land owning men would be allowed to vote. Dare to dream huh Bork.
"Radical politics as a substitute for religion"--Marxism might be dead, but anti-capitalism is still the 'faith' of the far Left Oct 25, 2005
The search for a 'politics of meaning' is a feature of modern liberalism, and reflects the human yearning for the transcendental by persons for whom religion no longer fills that void." Ponder those words by Mr. Bork with this fact: in 2004 approximately two-thirds of voters who regularly attend church voted for George Bush while approximately a like percentage of who don't lent their support to Mr. Kerry. Hillary Clinton expressed such when she claimed that what she wanted "a society that fills us up again and makes us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves." And the faith that provides such is provided by the chimera of radical egalitarianism. It is rather simple, actually. When folks had nothing they worked hard to survive; garnering added strenth to so persevere from religious faith. When many became increasingly affluent their faith was challenged in a way they couldn't make sense of---how is it that I increasingly live so well while others go without the basic necessities? Many who couldn't resolve this challenge to their faith simply jettisoned it whence an alternitive faith presented itself. Hence the turmoil created by Karl Marx and his Communist philosophy beginning in the second half of the 19th century. Ever wonder why a "Dictatorship of the Masses" movement was lead and peopled by industrialists (ala Frederich Engels, et al.), those born into privilege/wealth, intellectuals, & university students set to embark upon professional careers? (Read "Venona" by Haynes & Klehr for documentary proof from newly opened KGB files how over 300 such people within the American government in the 1930s/1940s had covert ties to Stalin's USSR; & "Witness"---Whitakker Chambers autobiography of his experience within this clique.) The 1960s, Mr. Bork consequently argues, didn't usher in previously absent turmoil; but rather just exacerbated it; and were but a new expression of contempt for society seemingly adift, by those who felt so alienated from it---again, not the downtrodden, but primarily children well-off and/or of a privileged/intellectual elite indulging their perceived moral superiority. In earlier days, such folks may have joined fascist, communist, and/or socialist movements (some actually in those days joining each, over time). The unique thing about New Left radicals in the 1960s, Bork offers, was how they "shattered into a multitude of single-issue groups"---multiculturalists, radical environmentalists, animal rights groups, gay activist organizations, et al. What we have now is thus "The Art of War" played out in differing manners---whence fascism was discredited, communism was the rage; then, thanks to Stalin's brutality, communism was succeeded by socialism's star & embraced until it was repudiated by Eastern European states the second they could. With capitalism riding high, without serious challengers thus how is one to express one's contempt for it & successfully discredit it? How about by challenging everything that capitalism relies upon to effectively operate---ie., bourgeois culture. Attacks against the family unit, morality, constitutional law, religious faith, and so on ought be expected from the New Left, consequently. It's all they got left (pardon the pun) to do battle on---Capitalism having just been too resourceful and dynamic for them---and all because the only substitute for spirituality that they have been able to latch onto is an ever increasing fanatical devotion to utopian equality amongst all peoples. So, yes, Judge Bork's book was an interesting one. I hope my words herein have been as well. Cheers!