And so it re-began

“It appears that the historical function of neoconservatism was to supply an intellectual rationale for the worst impulses of traditional conservatism. The attack on the welfare state rationalized—in effect if not intention—greed and class privilege. With the same qualification, the attack on affirmative action rationalized racial hostility. The attack on multilateralism and international law has, less ambiguously, rationalized national chauvinism and aggressive tribalism.” – George Scialabba, “The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal”

Fertile soil, sunlight, and adequate water work every time

“To a sufficiently sensitive and knowledgeable critic, everything will appear intelligent or unintelligent, skillful or shoddy, graceful or graceless, truthful or mendacious. In each of these pairs, the latter is—not immediately, perhaps, but ultimately, in some measure—a threat to our common life, our res publica. Intellectual virtues are civic virtues; intellectual vices leave the citizens vulnerable to superstition and demagoguery. There is, of course, no more sense in trying to legislate the intellectual virtues than the moral ones. But one can propagate intellectual virtue, first of all by example.” – George Scialabba, “The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal” (emphasis in original)

Just wing it

“The hacks of academe (new generation) have put it about that everything is political, especially textual analyses of great literature that reveal, through the application of emancipatory ideology and subversive wordplay, that the past was even less enlightened than the present. Besides allowing critical minnows to patronize artistic whales, this approach frees academic literary intellectuals from having to learn much about history, economics, politics, or how to compose English prose.” – George Scialabba, “The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal”

Why we’re all really republicans

“Democracy is something America has never really practiced. Because the Founding Fathers hated two things: monarchy and democracy. They wanted a republic, a replica of the Roman or Venetian republics. They didn’t even like the etymology of the word ‘democracy.’” – Gore Vidal (quoted by Lila Azam Zanganeh in “The End of Gore Vidal”)

Good God, Gore

“Maybe there is no good God. But there is definitely a devil, and his predominant passion is the religion of those Protestant fundamentalists. I believe my country is beginning to resemble a theocracy. Using television, the evangelists raise appalling amounts of money which they then invest in the election of mentally disabled obscurantists.” – Gore Vidal (quoted by Lila Azam Zanganeh in “The End of Gore Vidal”)