Reading QOTD (2009-02-28)

K.A. Cuordileone, “Cold War Political Culture and the Crisis in American Masculinity,” in the Journal of American History, discussing Schlesinger’s The Vital Center:

… [T]he totalitarian masses appear not just soft or emasculated, but downright sexually perverse in their “totalitarian psychosis,” their desire for “violent gratification,” their “losing of self in masochism or sadism,” their “masochistic delight in accepting correction.” “No one should be surprised,” Schlesinger insisted, “at the eagerness for personal humiliation,” for “the whole thrust of totalitarian indoctrination… is to destroy the boundaries of individual personality.” Quotidian totalitarian man assumes the feminine, submissive role in The Vital Center, yielding repeatedly to the “thrust” of totalitarianism, its “deep and driving faith,” its “half-concealed exercises in penetration and manipulation.” [emphasis mine] … If the reader has yet to grasp the essential point about Communism: it “perverts politics into something secret, sweaty and furtive like nothing so much… as homosexuality in a boys’ school; many practicing it, but all those caught to be caned by the headmaster.”

I think Arthur Schlesinger has some deep and unabiding desires he’s not telling us about.

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