The Corner

More On Blooming

John, anybody who knew Allan Bloom well understood that to some degree he was the most radical person we’d ever meet — someone who believed that life was to be lived at the emotional extremes. He was a perfect paradox — a person who spent his life with his nose in books who believed in the value of intense passion. That is the Bloom we meet in Saul Bellow’s “Ravelstein.”

That is why he hated the 1960s so much — because he saw its devolution into soul-killing political and academic correctness that both devalued reason and insisted that passion be channeled and controlled. He despised the sexual revolution not because it unleashed erotic feelings, but because it killed eroticism by making sex ordinary and conventional.

He was neither entirely coherent nor consistent — he was far more attracted to the nihilism he attacked than the high-minded ideas he espoused — but God knows he was no liberal as we understand the term today.

And knowing him as I did but not having spent any time with him in the last decade of his life, I would bet that Bloom supported Clinton in 1992 for the same reason William Safire did– out of disgust for the elder Bush’s treatment of Israel.

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