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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2008
The university is supposed to be the place where excited young minds come to be initiated into the mysteries of the cosmos. And it wasn't long ago that such adventures were both available and pursued. Liberal education encouraged students to ask for themselves the question "what is man?" and to wrestle with alternative answers. The university provided a haven where the easy and preferred answers of the culture could be safely set aside, at least for a time, while the great minds of history past were consulted, argued with, and learned from.

But in Bloom's thirty years as a university professor he has witnessed a change, both in the mood and expectation of the students, and in the university's sense of identity, which has fragmented into a smorgasbord of unrelated pursuits. Confusion over the nature of knowledge confounds both. The spirit of the age, relativism, the truth that there is no objective truth, has settled like a smog over the campuses. Students no longer expect to find truth and meaning "out there", but only within. So the appeal of liberal arts to students is vastly diminished if it is denied that these studies can point to any reality beyond themselves.

Bloom notes that "the university now offers no distinctive visage to the young person. There is no vision...of what an educated human being is. The student gets no intimation that great mysteries might be revealed to him, that new and higher motives of action might be discovered within him, that a different and more human way of life can be harmoniously constructed by what he is going to learn." The "undecided student is an embarrassment to most universities, because he seems to be saying, 'I am a whole human being. Help me to form myself in my wholeness and let me develop my real potential,' and he is the one to whom they have nothing to say" (p.339).

America was founded on the Enlightenment tradition of men like Locke where reason was central; equality and human rights were rationally derived, universal principles, and democracy could flourish. A competing political philosophy with its origins in Rousseau but more radically developed by Nietzsche is where Bloom sees the beginning of today's predicament. It was with Nietzsche that American intellectuals in the forties became enamoured. Nietzsche denied, however, the rationally accessible human rights and equality that was central to American ideals. Rather it was in localized "culture" that man finds his wholeness and identity. In fact this meant that there was no such thing as "man" in the singular; there are as many kinds of "man" as there are cultures. The objective tool of reason is replaced by the subjective one of "commitment" and acts of the will.

American intellectuals did not seem to see the darker side of Nietzsche. He himself recognized that his cultural relativism meant "war and great cruelty rather than great compassion" (p.202). "Whether this value relativism is harmonious with democracy was a question that was dealt with by never being raised" (p.152). In fact, there can't be a respect for both human rights and culture "because a culture itself generates its own way of life and principles...with no authority above it" (p.192). Bloom warns that we need to "credit the possibility that the overpowering visions of German philosophers are preparing the tyranny of the future" (p.240).

Since the sixties, the vocabulary of Nietzschean ideas has been adopted at a superficial level by Americans such that they are no more than slogans (eg. words like "values" and "creativity"). Students do not and are not required to think them through. It's not even the embrace of relativism that Bloom finds to be the biggest problem, but the unthinking dogmatism with which it is held. This results, then, in the closing of the American mind when young people believe that there are no thoughts worth considering that they do not already know, no visions of the human experience worth exploring that they do not already possess.

The denial of any universals means that there is only the particular. If there is no such thing as "man" but only the "self" then what does Aristotle have to say to me? If reason is less important than feeling why should I care about what Plato says about justice? No wonder today's students are more concerned with self-fulfillment than with becoming wise.

So how are students to get excited again by the mysteries and possibilities of human experience? Bloom sees as the best solution the old Great Books approach, where the classics are read as the authors intended them to be read. This is no small difference from the typical approach in the humanities, where the classics are now kept. There they are treated as mummified museum pieces and read through the lens of modern presuppositions and political correctness. It is as if a great sign hangs over the door to the humanities that says "There is no truth, at least not here."

For example, it is claimed that Aristotle's "Ethics" teaches us not what a good man is but what the Greeks thought about morality. If it was read as it was intended to be read, students would be challenged to discover new experiences and reassess old ones. However now they are told that Aristotle can just be used to enrich the vision of the world they already have. Bloom is not saying that the claims of the great books are automatically true, but that we ought to wrestle with them in order to see that the picture of the whole may well be larger than the one we currently have.

Though he has argued that free inquiry and democracy itself are threatened when reason is devalued, Bloom is hopeful that liberal education is still possible. "The questions are all there. They only need to be addressed continuously and seriously for liberal learning to exist; for it does not consist so much in answers as in the permanent dialogue" (p.380).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2003
Have you ever read something that perfectly illuminates ideas that you have been perceiving on an intuitive level, but couldn't quite put into words? Have you experienced that incredible moment (all too rare) when a powerful thinker opens up your mind to whole new dimensions of thought and understanding? The Closing of the American Mind is one of those books. It's not light reading, but for those with above average reading comprehension and the patience to read slowly, Closing will take you places you've never been before.
I first heard about this book while reading Dionne's _Why Americans Hate Politics_. It was mentioned as a work that was influenced by the famous political philosopher Leo Strauss, who was very influential among the so-called "neoconservatives" (anti-communist liberals who believed in virtue and rebelled against the new-Left in the 1960s). Dionne stressed that this important group of intellectuals, having been liberals themselves, were particularly adept at criticizing the policies of the Left. I found this fascinating, so I decided to read Closing for myself. At the time, I had no idea that it would be a life changing experience.
This book is incredibly interesting. It is a brilliant critique of the American education system, particularly the University. It is even more relevant today than it was in the 1980s. If you take nothing else away from this book than a better understanding of a liberal arts education, it will be worth the price of admission. On the other hand, if you read this book carefully like I did, you will be rewarded with Bloom's brilliant mind, his incisive wit, his astonishing observations, his (sometimes overwhelming) references to the greatest works human history, and finally, an appreciation for the irony of America's great closing, a closing cloaked behind a veneer of openness.
I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2003
Blooms book is tough reading, challenging. THis book expects you, the student, to delve back into the classical times and into philosophy for understand. So far different from the light conservative reading of O'Reilly and so far different from the un-balanced unsubstantiated works of Michael Moore or Chomsky, this book requires you to think. Bloom explores many subjects facing the American college student and the developing of the American conscious. He points out the current trend(all too relevant today even though the book was written in the 80s) towards moral relativism. He notes how we as Americans ahve become so afraid of value judgements. He speaks about the inculcation of college students with all embrasing words like 'culture'. He also comments on the non-integraton of black students on college campus's despite the massive outreach efforts.
He notes the current distrust of classic texts and the current trend towards Satre and Marx on campus while noting the decline of emphasis on western thought and western civilization. This book is a great read, highly educational and of great value for todays student or young professional in understanding the lingo of the left. For a non-fiction biography of Bloom read Ravelstein by Saul Bellow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2003
I read The Closing of the American Mind during a summer semester at Reed College during the mid-1980s. Put simply, it is an authoritative and devastating attack on higher education. This work will likely stand the test of time, and stand as one of the best critiques of higher education of the last 50 years.
At Reed, this work was often criticized brilliantly by the iconoclastic student body. At the same time, it seemed like just about everyone read it. It is indeed thought provoking and timeless. Bloom's contribution is tremendous, and simply can't be overlooked.
In an age of increased specialization and fragmentation, Bloom weaved and crafted a brilliantly provocative treatise, and should be read by all parents before their children apply to college. It is as important as any critique of American society. I actually it rank along with De Tocqueville's Democracy in America and have it sitting close by on the shelf for reference when I feel compelled to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2002
A revealing, penetrating, inspiring text on the state of education and the modern American mind. It was Bloom's life work - his profession at the University Of Chicago - to compare human eras and their standards. Through his research no one has so completely uncovered the ills of our time, or affirmed what is positive. His courage to face modern dogma made Bloom hated by those adhering to new orthodoxies and open to their character assassinations, but Bloom wrote anyway.
Contrary to relativism of the new movements and their extinguishing of deep education - which in the end is a search for the right answers - Bloom claims there are indeed answers to questions concerning the human condition (thus the inspiration), and that "not obvious" does not mean "unavailable". "The liberally educated person," he writes, "is one who is able to resist the easy and preferred answers, not because he is obstinate but because he knows others worthy of consideration."
Today's social relativism is considered "not a theoretical insight" but a "moral postulate of a free society", and hence the current totalitarianism we experience from the Fundamentalist Left as one dare not oppose such rule. (The Left is no different from the intolerant Right, excepting that the Left, hypocritically, advertises themselves as tolerant, while the Right never bothered.)
How did America reach its current state of intolerance to ideas without agreement on first principles? Bloom takes us on a lively tour toward an answer, engagingly written. As example, early on in America, religion was demoted from the level of "knowledge" to that of "opinion" in order to defuse dangerous elements of its passion we still see today in the Levant, but, importantly, the right to religious belief was not lost. This demotion was possible if society were to shrink its claims to moral certainty, subordinating old ways (but not abandoning them) to Enlightenment's Natural Rights. Today this process of "value shrinkage" is taken to such extreme that the original ideas providing its basis are attacked, claiming each period has its "preferences". None are superior, as that would be, by modern perspectives, discrimination. Today, "subordination" is equivalent to suppression. This radical democracy claims limits on anything to be arbitrary (since truth is now relative), all the while emphasizing how mad the white Eurocentric past was, confirmed by body counts of the most lethal century in the record of our species. "The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right," says Bloom, "rather it is not to think you are right at all." Add to this our fashionable characterization that America's historical progenitors were racist, then subordination to Enlightenment's promise is easily jettisoned in favor of embracing any or all ideologies (except those we came from), abandoning fundamental agreement on first principles that form a social contract to begin with.
In this example we see how a kind of generalization of issues allows for the indictment of anything associated with them in order to pervert the old for a new political order, i.e. dethroning Enlightenment for political correctness and postmodernism. In short, we see a stock theme of a civilization's initial spirit and values becoming their opposite. Though Bloom never comes out to say so, one may wonder if this is a marker of a civilization's fall forewarned by Spengler.
Bloom clarifies that "passion" and "commitment" have become the new political validations replacing reason and critical thinking. What the Founders worked so hard to balance (faction) due to its inherent opposition to the common good, is now promoted as a central role of government with its fondness for "groups". With "common good" abandoned, factions are no longer problematic. What the Founders never imagined has set in - not a tyranny of the majority they strived to counterbalance, but a tyranny of passionate, committed minority.
Concerning multiculturalism in education Bloom notes that Greeks searched out other cultures too (as we still should), but for wholly different reasons - to learn what they had to teach about the human condition, not to nullify their own society as we now do. Moderns maintain America's Constitution is the white man's corrupt document designed to suppress, and that Western ways are a bias to be cleansed by exposure to other cultures through multicultural studies. But this is not to learn what they have to teach so much as it is a political maneuver to dismantle the West, its values, standards and science. Intellectual openness used to invite a quest for knowledge and certitude, while the opposite is now true. Open-mindedness means closing ones mind to our very roots. As though to deny them will settle a score with our history for having done so much evil, while conveniently dismissing the good.
While Fundamentalists assumed that removing reason from the mind would remove bias and prejudice, all they have done is vanquished our best tool for correction. Such is the state of the American mind. Though American education is in crisis, Bloom has given us the gift of knowing there is hope on our own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 1996
Although a few years old, Bloom's _Closing of the American Mind_ is still a tour de force in assessing the state of American thought. Bloom contends that our society suffers from a neurotic open-ness to almost any opinion except the opinion that some positions have (innately) more merit than others. We are intolerant of the concepts of good and value in our thought life and in our spiritual world. Bloom recommends a rerurn (or progression, possibly) to a worldview that is at once more rigorous and ultimately more "open minded" in the truest sense
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on September 4, 2002
"But rock has one quality neither of the others do - it's still fresh. This is the point Bloom simply misses. People don't listen to rock because it's great, but because it's new. Bloom is simply unrealistic to expect a culture like ours that thrives on innovation to live only in the past; in fact, it would be unhealthy because it would lead to stagnation."
In response to Mr. Gudorf, Bloom's point is that Americans have no sense of the past, of the greatness of the whole western civilization that ultimately produced them. Thus they choose the new over the truly great, People Magazine over Shakespeare, and the Stones over Mozart. Freshness, the ability to be innovative, is indeed the American virtue, but we experience it at the expense of some other very precious virtues, many of which Bloom outlines in this book. To argue that living in the past (i.e. prefering classical to rock) is unhealthy and leads to stagnation is a most American response to Bloom. That very "stagnation" which Americans abhor is the climate that fosters the reflection of which genius is a product.
I first read Bloom as a college freshman in a colloquium my advisor signed me into against my will. I thought the book was only mildly interesting and barely relevant. I recently re-read it in my own leisure and realized the profundity of Bloom's arguments against a culture that suffocates greatness and thins the soil of the mind. I recommend it for parents (and those who plan to be) who want to raise children who are connected to a tradition and can think for themselves.
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on July 31, 2002
This is a great book for one simple reason - it makes you really think. As evidence, I need merely look at some of the other reviews here, which are some of the most well written I've seen anywhere. I can open it, turn to pretty much any page at random, and find material that will stimulate my mind, and cause me to use my best mental faculties to determine whether or not I agree or disagree with the author on a particular point or issue, and why. Sure, Bloom may come across as stuffy, elitist, and a bit of an old grump, but only those who've never learned to think beyond a purely superficial level will use that as an excuse to dismiss his ideas.
I could cite any number of examples, but there simply isn't the space, so let me limit it to just one - music. On a purely superficial level, he sounds like a more highbrow version of every parent from the Sixties who yelled "Stop listening to that noise from those damn long haired freaks" at their kids. Clearly he has little regard for rock music of any kind, and seems to look at it as mostly hormone driven junk compared to classical music. At first glance, one might think - so what? And that's probably what most people will think, at first. Including myself, after all, I mostly listen to rock, and rarely classical. But let's be honest. Aside from a handful of genuine talents, most rock music basically IS junk. Those parents in the 60's were, for the most part, right. Sure, there were occasional exceptions like the aforementioned Beatles (and even their early stuff was mostly bubblegum) but most of the music of the era was more like the Monkees, i.e., eminently forgettable. On the other hand, classical music is called classical for one reason - it's the best that's ever been made, and that probably ever will be.
So, does that mean the good professor is correct? Not necessarily. The principal reason that classical music isn't very popular (I was going to say "with young people" but the truth is, it applies to pretty much everyone now) is because the best of it is all in the past. Judged purely by quality, music simply hit its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries. Jazz is inferior to classical, and rock inferior to jazz. But rock has one quality neither of the others do - it's still fresh. This is the point Bloom simply misses. People don't listen to rock because it's great, but because it's new. Bloom is simply unrealistic to expect a culture like ours that thrives on innovation to live only in the past; in fact, it would be unhealthy because it would lead to stagnation.
Another fact that Bloom fails to consider is that, although classical music isn't anywhere near as popular as rock, it still gets a level of respect, not just from the highbrows but the hoi polloi as well, that rock never will. For example, it is still the mainstay of many serious and popular movie soundtracks for the simple reason that it has a gravitas that is necessary to set the mood of the film. Stanley Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey" set to classical music is magnificent. Set to rock, it would have been ridiculous. And, if anything, the lack of popularity of classical may actually be a sign of how esteemed it still is. After all, a night at the symphony is, for most people, a rare event, something to be savored, even treasured. Rock is what we listen to in the car going to work.
And that, in a nutshell, is the strength of this book. I found myself disagreeing with Bloom on this particular issue, but in doing so I had to really do a lot of thinking about the evolution of music and what role it plays in our society. And that's just one of many issues he raises in this book. Any educated person could simply pick a chapter at random and then spent hours thinking through the subject from a variety of different angles. Books that can make you do this are rare indeed, and truly deserve to be called great.
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on March 24, 2002
This book is a cautionary tale for those who consider themselves "educated." Allan Bloom's erudite, fluently written reflection on the parlous state of the American mind laments the intellectual and moral complacency of today's university students. It also outlines the academic trends that have contributed to our country's growing Philistinism and decadence.
Bloom almost entitled this controversial, surprise best-seller Souls Without Longing, and he devotes several chapters to diagnosing the condition of students' inner lives--their vulgar taste in music and other arts, coarse romantic sensibility, immersion in pop culture, and unabashed self-centeredness.
Below is a famous passage--much castigated by the Left--in which Bloom captures the effect of rock music on the young. As you read it, you'll realize that this kind of blithe hedonism permeates the lives of many Americans long after their pubescence and higher education have ended...sometime exsequor exequor:
"Picture a thirteen-year-old boy sitting in the living room of his family home doing his math assignment while wearing his Walkman headphones or watching MTV. He enjoys the liberties hard won over the centuries by the alliance of philosophic genius and political heroism, consecrated by the blood of martyrs; he is provided with comfort and leisure by the most productive economy ever known to mankind; science has penetrated the secrets of nature in order to provide him with the marvelous, lifelike electronic sound and image reproduction he is enjoying. And in what does progress culminate? A pubescent child whose body throbs with orgasmic rhythms; whose feelings are made articulate in hymns to the joys of onanism or the killing of parents; whose ambition is to win fame and wealth in imitating the drag-queen who makes the music. In short, life is made into a nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy."
A noted translator of Plato and Rousseau who witnessed (with disgust) the left-wing student revolts at Cornell and other universities in the late 1960s, Bloom also describes how contemporary "scholarly interests" (black, gay, gender, and "post-colonial" studies) have politicized American academia and undermined the traditionalist pursuit of the best that has been thought and said.
While many conservatives have criticized the decline of literacy, lower test scores, etc., among the general population, Bloom focuses mostly on elite students--our best raw material and most likely candidates for attaining cultural refinement. Beginning in the 1960s, he finds undergraduates at our top universities to be increasingly ignorant--before and after graduation--of the classical learning that is taken for granted among their European counterparts:
"European schoolchildren had a vastly more sophisticated knowledge of the human heart than we were accustomed to in the young or, for that matter, the old...Their books had a substantial existence in everyday life and constituted much of what their society as a whole looked up to. It was commonplace for children of what they called good families to fill their imaginations with the hopes of serious literary or philosophic careers, as do ours with hopes of careers in entertainment or business."
Bloom writes not in a tone of moral outrage but rather with the sardonic disappointment (and occasional disdain) of a sophisticate among naïfs. To him, Americans simply don't know what they're missing by not taking time to understand Plato and Nietzsche, listen attentively to Mozart, or view Raphael. Moreover, they lack heroic ideals:
"...I began to ask students who their heroes are. Again, there is usually silence, and most frequently nothing follows. Why should anyone have heroes?...[I]n America we have only the bourgeoisie, and the love of the heroic is one of the few counterpoises available to us. In us the contempt for the heroic is only an extension of the perversion of the democratic principle that denies greatness and wants everyone to feel comfortable in his skin without having to suffer unpleasant comparisons...Liberation from the heroic only means that [students] have no resource whatsoever against conformity to the current 'role models'...Instead of being overwhelmed by Cyrus, Theseus, Moses or Romulus, they unconsciously act out the roles of the doctors, lawyers, businessmen or TV personalities around them. One can only pity young people without admirations they can respect or avow, who are artificially restrained from the enthusiasm for great virtue."
In Part Two, Bloom expands his argument to explain how German and Austrian thinkers of the 19th and early 20th centuries (Freud, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Weber) first articulated the essential themes that continue to dominate American intellectual discourse. He critiques this phenomenon, as well as the pernicious influence of the culturally Marxist Frankfurt School (Adorno, Marcuse, et al.):
"This popularization of German philosophy in the United States is of particular interest to me because I have watched it occur during my own lifetime...Who in 1920 would have believed that Max Weber's technical sociological terminology would someday be the everyday language of the United States, the land of the Philistines?...The self-understanding of hippies, yippies, panthers, prelates and presidents has unconsciously been formed by German thought of a half-century earlier; Herbert Marcuse's accent has been turned into a Middle Western twang; the echt Deutsch label has been replaced by a Made in America label; and the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family."
Bloom goes on to describe, brilliantly, the rise of value relativism, the growth of political extremism in Europe, the concept of the "Last Man" (the bourgeois), the decline of religion among the intelligentsia, and other complex topics that remain vital for all Westerners who want to understand their culture.
Those who enjoy this book will want to track down Bloom's less popular but still superb other works of cultural and literary criticism: Giants and Dwarfs, Love and Friendship, and Shakespeare's Politics (with Harry V. Jaffa). Bloom's translations of Plato's Republic and Rousseau's Emile are also excellent.
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on March 24, 2002
This book is a cautionary tale for those who consider themselves 'educated.' Allan Bloom's erudite, fluently written reflection on the parlous state of the American mind laments the intellectual and moral complacency of today's university students. It also outlines the academic trends that have contributed to our country's growing Philistinism and decadence.
Bloom almost entitled this controversial, surprise best-seller 'Souls Without Longing,' and he devotes several chapters to diagnosing the condition of students' inner lives--their vulgar taste in music and other arts, coarse romantic sensibility, immersion in pop culture, and unabashed self-centeredness.
Below is a famous passage--much castigated by the Left--in which Bloom captures the effect of rock music on the young. As you read it, you'll realize that this kind of blithe hedonism permeates the lives of many Americans long after their pubescence and higher education have ended...sometimes exsequor exequor:
"Picture a thirteen-year-old boy sitting in the living room of his family home doing his math assignment while wearing his Walkman headphones or watching MTV. He enjoys the liberties hard won over the centuries by the alliance of philosophic genius and political heroism, consecrated by the blood of martyrs; he is provided with comfort and leisure by the most productive economy ever known to mankind; science has penetrated the secrets of nature in order to provide him with the marvelous, lifelike electronic sound and image reproduction he is enjoying. And in what does progress culminate? A pubescent child whose body throbs with orgasmic rhythms...life is made into a nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy."
While many conservatives have bemoaned the decline of literacy, lower test scores, etc., among the general population, Bloom focuses mostly on elite students--our best raw material and most likely candidates for attaining cultural refinement. Beginning in the 1960s, he finds undergraduates at our top universities to be increasingly ignorant--before and after graduation--of the classical learning that is taken for granted among their European counterparts:
"European schoolchildren had a vastly more sophisticated knowledge of the human heart than we were accustomed to in the young or, for that matter, the old...Their books had a substantial existence in everyday life and constituted much of what their society as a whole looked up to. It was commonplace for children of what they called good families to fill their imaginations with the hopes of serious literary or philosophic careers, as do ours with hopes of careers in entertainment or business."
Bloom writes not in a tone of moral outrage but rather with the sardonic disappointment (and occasional disdain) of a sophisticate among naïfs. To him, Americans simply don't know what they're missing by not taking time to understand Plato and Nietzsche, listen attentively to Mozart, or view Raphael. Moreover, they lack heroic ideals:
"...I began to ask students who their heroes are. Again, there is usually silence, and most frequently nothing follows. Why should anyone have heroes?...[I]n America we have only the bourgeoisie, and the love of the heroic is one of the few counterpoises available to us. In us the contempt for the heroic is only an extension of the perversion of the democratic principle that denies greatness and wants everyone to feel comfortable in his skin without having to suffer unpleasant comparisons...Liberation from the heroic only means that [students] have no resource whatsoever against conformity to the current 'role models'...Instead of being overwhelmed by Cyrus, Theseus, Moses or Romulus, they unconsciously act out the roles of the doctors, lawyers, businessmen or TV personalities around them. One can only pity young people without admirations they can respect or avow, who are artificially restrained from the enthusiasm for great virtue."
In Part Two, Bloom expands his argument to explain how German and Austrian thinkers of the 19th and early 20th centuries (Freud, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Weber) first articulated the essential themes that continue to dominate American intellectual discourse. He critiques this phenomenon, as well as the pernicious influence of the culturally Marxist Frankfurt School (Adorno, Marcuse, et al.):
"Who in 1920 would have believed that Max Weber's technical sociological terminology would someday be the everyday language of the United States, the land of the Philistines...? The self-understanding of hippies, yippies, panthers, prelates and presidents has unconsciously been formed by German thought of a half-century earlier; Herbert Marcuse's accent has been turned into a Middle Western twang; the 'echt Deutsch' label has been replaced by a 'Made in America label'; and the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family."
Bloom goes on to describe, brilliantly, the rise of value relativism, the growth of political extremism in Europe, the concept of the 'Last Man' (the bourgeois), the decline of religion among the intelligentsia, and other complex topics that remain vital for all Westerners who want to understand their culture.
Those who enjoy this book will want to track down Bloom's less popular but still superb other works of cultural and literary criticism: 'Giants and Dwarfs,' 'Love and Friendship,' and 'Shakespeare's Politics' (with Harry V. Jaffa). Bloom's translations of Plato's 'Republic' and Rousseau's 'Emile' are also excellent.
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