I was very concerned that last night’s event at Trinity was a set-up. No need to get into all of the reasons why, because I was entirely wrong. It was a wonderful evening. Segments of the audience were clearly hostile (or uninterested in the case of some of the students forced to attend). But all in all it was respectful and enjoyable experience. The audience clearly got something out of the discussion and I was honored and enlightened by being on the same panel with Borden Painter, a true historian and a charming gentleman. He clearly disagrees with me on many points — he holds that fascism is specifically historical phenomenon emerging from the interwar years and having no surviving corollary today. I’m more sympathetic to that view than many would suspect. Basically, I would be perfectly happy to inter the word “fascist” forever. There are plenty of other words we can use to describe the progressive-authoritarian impulses lurking within liberalism today. But if the word is going to be used it might as well be pointed in the right direction.
Anyway, a great evening and my thanks to Trinity for putting it on.
Oh, because people always ask, yes it was taped. No, I don’t know if it will be up on the web. But I will find out.