Subscribe
Notify of
guest
27 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Jennings
David Jennings
3 months ago

It is always a pleasure to read Ross Douthat. This article is another example of his providing singular information, context and analysis. A pity he is ensconced in the pages of the NYT where his talents are lost on a readership that wears blinders to better travel at high speed down the road of progressive causes, while those of us who appreciate his writing and analysis have sought the broader vision of more honourable publications. Perhaps Unherd could tempt him to immigrate to different (virtual) pages?

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
3 months ago
Reply to  David Jennings

The NYT did not advertise “The City and The Pillar”
No Gore Vidal was not a small r Republican
he was a democrat.

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
3 months ago

It’s a shame the current US leadership don’t seem to be as familiar with ancient Roman history as the Founding Fathers doubtless were.
One lesson they would know, from the career of Julius Caesar among others, is that threatening charismatic and popular politicians with law suits and in effect trying to “destroy” them politically, may force them or their followers to resort to more extreme measures if only for their own defence.
Also, making a big long drawn out meal out of political demonstrations simply entrenches differences and keeps them fresh in peoples’ minds. One day the Roman forum would be littered with bodies and running blood, but a week later everything was back to normal and no more was said about the earlier unpleasantness.
In the 1790s the British Prime Minister William Pitt Jr out walking in London was chased by a mob baying for his blood, and only narrowly escaped with his life. But as far as I know, there were no elaborate enquiries or prosecutions subsequently. Everyone, including Pitt, just moved on.
If only these foolish Democrats, dwelling on what by any standards was clearly a very small element of misbehaviour in an overwhelmingly peaceful demo, were as pragmatic. In the long run, all their legalistic pompous posturing and carry on will obviously do more harm than good.
John Ramsden
https://highranges.com

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
3 months ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

The Pitt you’re referring to wasn’t a “junior”; he was his father’s second son. Therefore, he was known in Parliament as Pitt the Younger. And, I have it on good authority that he wrote dreadful poetry, wondered why nice girls hated him, and endured hot crumpets between his lower cheeks . . .

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 months ago

He also “liked the bottle” as we say!

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
3 months ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

Yes they think the Rubicon is a Jeep !o!

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
3 months ago

Hamilton was always my least favorite of America’s Founding Fathers. While the Federalist Papers are lauded over in the American political sphere, the Anti-Federalist Papers written by those who opposed the creation of a powerful central government were just as important. The vison of Hamilton and Madison would have looked nothing like the United States system of government. The Anti-Federalists and their stiff opposition against a federal government are responsible for much of the checks and balances in the American system of government as well as the Bill of Rights. The two are essential reading if you want to understand the United States system of government (as opposed to revisionist garbage like the 1619 Project). If you want to read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers I would recommend finding a free audio version online (they are long) and alternating between the two of them so you can enjoy the two sides arguing at one another. Also, the oh so polite and oh so creative ways they constantly find to insult each other are great.
If you want to find out more about Hamilton’s shadier side I would recommend The Hamilton Hustle by Matt Stoller
https://thebaffler.com/salvos/hamilton-hustle-stoller

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
3 months ago

I’d say the point about the Founders is that everyone of them is indispensible. Washington as the man on the white horse that went home, twice. Madison the architect of the Constitution. Hamilton the guy that understood central banking and set up the National Debt. Jefferson the guy with the pretty words. Franklin the guy that picked the pocket of the French government.
But Burr? I’d say his claim to fame is that, if Hamilton had lived, our Alexander might have got himself into a bit of insurrectionary trouble down the road. And as we all know, that is the worst thing in the world.

Last edited 3 months ago by Christopher Chantrill
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 months ago

An apposite essay, thank you.
Here in the UK Madison is chiefly remembered as the slaver who idiotically provoked the disastrous War of 1812. His performance during the war was abysmal, famously deciding to leg it’ after the Battle of Bladensburg, thus allowing the British Army to famously burn the White House and all other public buildings in DC to the ground.* In mitigation it must said that the rest of US Army did likewise, so much so that ‘we’ normally refer to it as the “Bladensburg Races”, rather than a proper battle.
Hamilton, happy enough to marry into an affluent (Dutch) major slave owning family is chiefly remembered for being a rotten shot. In his testosterone fuelled duel with Mr Burr he only managed to hit a tree, whilst the steadier Burr hit him in the liver. Of such stuff are our heroes made.

(* Anniversary, next week, the 24th August,)

Last edited 3 months ago by stanhopecharles344
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
3 months ago

I read ”Burr” back in the 70s when I was a curious kid. Vidal’s fiction was fun back then (“Myra Breckinridge”, anyone?), but drawing anything other than utter, poisonous disdain for the United States and its founders from this malicious man is akin to getting history from Hollywood. Why Douthat chose “Burr” for his Caesar analogy is odd, since Vidal wrote a much better book, about an actual Caesar, Julian, who tried to save Rome from the horrors of Christianity – an emperor of whom Vidal heartily approved.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 months ago

Yes, the Apostate, a great loss indeed.

James 0
James 0
3 months ago

Vidal was a republican (small R) and often despaired of the imperial direction his country had taken. Yes, he grew more cantakerous with age, but that shouldn’t overshadow his work.

He actually had a lot of time for Lincoln, who in many ways was the ideal republican politician: willing to seize power and use it to protect the republic, but prepared to hand it back again.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
3 months ago

I keep running into this idea that Trump was a “populist”. Why is that? He only won an electoral victory, didnt he? Is it because “populist” has become a polite form of plebian? Or hoipolloi? Obama was more popular. Why isn’t he a populist President?

Last edited 3 months ago by Jeff Cunningham
David Yetter
David Yetter
3 months ago

Populist is not the same as popular. Populist refers to a politician or movement which seeks power on the basis of a claim to represent the interests of the (virtuous) populace against a (corrupt) elite. Thus, both Trump and Bernie Sanders are characterized as populist. There are even suggestions that Boris Johnson was (is) a populist, a view shared by a lot of “Red Wall” voters who voted Tory for the first time in their lives in the last British general election, at least if the word is shorn of the negative connotation it usually has when uttered by supporters of the status quo..

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
3 months ago

Gore Vidal left to live in Italy.
“Lincoln” is his Amerikan Caesar novel.
It is all so ‘katty’ behind the scenes in DC not intelligence.
The new ‘Gaslit’ film also reflects this

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
3 months ago

Aaron Burr was a man of action.
The rest were men of Letters.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
3 months ago

Most Americans think that Caesar was the guy who invented a salad and a Vegas casino, like they cannot understand how the Brits built Windsor castle in the Heathrow flightpath…

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
3 months ago

We get it, you hate Americans. But your repeated arrogance and condescension grow tiresome.

Tanya Kratz
Tanya Kratz
3 months ago

Yes! I’ve noticed quite a bit of anti American sentiment here. What is at the root of that? Anyone care to hazard a guess?

Last edited 3 months ago by Tanya Kratz
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 months ago
Reply to  Tanya Kratz

You “rise too easily to the bait”, he’s only ‘winding you up’. I’m sure no malice is intended.

Tanya Kratz
Tanya Kratz
3 months ago

Charles, I had actually considered after posting my comment above that he was joking in that way the English do; they say something that sounds offensive and then you are supposed to hit the ball back with some witty reply. And yes there is no malice in this English way but for me I find it exhausting, TBH.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 months ago
Reply to  Tanya Kratz

Yes it is a bit tedious, you have to have been trained from birth to understand it.
A riposte to N S-T might have been: “Perhaps, but had it not been for Lend-Lease you would all be speaking German”.

Terry M
Terry M
2 months ago

You already bow to a German queen.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
3 months ago
Reply to  Tanya Kratz

It’s banter Tanya! Or bantz as the youngsters call it these days apparently.
At its most vicious when engaging with your best mates. Love it – I goad my Remainer friends every time I meet them, trying to get a decent debate going. Women often seem to think it’s needlessly antagonistic but I see they’re getting into it these days too.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
3 months ago

You’re certainly proud of your bigotry, so I guess that’s something.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 months ago

If it hadn’t been Heathrow it would have been Heston of Chamberlain fame.

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh
3 months ago

I gotta admit, the Windsor Castle thing still baffles me.