The second point revolves around the ideology for which Tanenhaus has been cheerleading: the big-government, stick-your-nose-in-everyone’s-business version of bureaucratic leftism that defines the Democratic (and, alas, much of the Republican) party’s elite. “The progressives’ case for entrusting government with more and more power,” Berkowtiz observes, “depends in part on the trustworthiness of government officials. If the editor of the New York Times Sunday Book Review and the editors of The New Republic can’t be trusted to present history and restate their political opponents views without flagrant distortion, why should partisan politicians on the left (or the right, for that matter) be trusted to exercise responsibly ever-expanding government power?” Good question.
But as I observed in my note for The New Criterion,
“historical accuracy is not part of Tanenhaus’s brief. Like ‘The Death of Conservatism,’ ‘Original Sin’ is an attempt at political demolition masquerading as journalism. It tells us a lot about The New York Times in its present configuration that the editor of its book review should be the author of such an intellectually dishonest, politically mischievous, and morally repellent essay.”