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« Heading into the Fray | Main | Nicky Joe Rahall (WV-3) Makes National News »

Monday, 16 April 2012


Mannie Sherberg
I'm not sure Nordau could be called a political conservative -- after all, his notion of "muscular Judaism" and his strong Zionism were both considered, in his time, fairly radical. But he was most assuredly a conservative in the temperamental sense. Late in life, he wrote something that sounds almost Burkean -- and that has real significance in our own day: "You Westerners [being Hungarian, Nordau evidently considered himself an Easterner] always crave excitement; you are always eager to change everything. You cannot leave things as they are; so you destroy the most beautiful gift granted to man on earth: the joy of finding everything again as one had known it." It's impossible to read those words without recalling the excitement with which Obama's promise of Hope and Change was greeted -- the eagerness that gripped his legion of groupies when they heard his pledge to stop the rise of the oceans. Now, three years later, it's impossible for the rest of us not to yearn for the joy of finding America as we once had known it. Nordau wrote his comment in 1915; one year earlier, all of Western Europe had been seized with the "craving for excitement" as World War I began. By 1915, Western Europe was an abattoir, and all of Western Europe was aghast at what its craving for excitement had wrought. Nordau knew what he was talking about. He would not, I'm sure, be at all surprised by our current plight.

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