From my new book review in Taki’s Magazine:
A couple of heavyweight conservative thinkers, Charles Murray and Christopher Caldwell, have important new books out this month: Murray’s upcoming Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class and Caldwell’s The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties.
Caldwell, a distinguished prose stylist, is immensely quotable…except for his new book’s name. I presume The Age of Entitlement is intended as a Voltairean pun on “the Age of Enlightenment” in the manner of his 2009 title Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West and its Burkean riff on Reflections on the Revolution in France. Unfortunately, the moniker The Age of Entitlement gives the vague impression that it’s going to be another snooze from the deep root-canal school of economics about the Social Security trust fund or whatever.
Instead, The Age of Entitlement is an explosive rethinking of history since JFK’s assassination that comes to the reactionary conclusion that the only salvation for American conservatism is to repeal the sainted 1964 Civil Rights Act and restore the constitutional right to freedom of association.
This is a striking judgment for Caldwell, a sober and cultured (the only conversation I can recall having with him was in 1992, and it mostly regarded how to properly pronounce “Nabokov”) analyst, to arrive at; his career has been largely spent writing for the respectable right, such as the Financial Times, the late Weekly Standard, and The Wall Street Journal.
In contrast, I’ve never felt any regard for the long-gone Jim Crow era, which I’ve always found almost Hindu-like in its grotesque caste rules.