Magazine September 9, 2019, Issue

The Not-So-Enigmatic Clarence Thomas

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 6, 2016 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The Enigma of Clarence Thomas, by Corey Robin (Metropolitan, 320 pp., $30)

Reviewing a Corey Robin book in these pages is an interesting task, for these pages have been a frequent subject of inquiry for the professor of political science at Brooklyn College. Robin’s previous book, The Reactionary Mind, argued that the conservative political tendency has since Burke been used to justify the advantage of the stronger. Many arguments made in National Review and later adopted by conservative political figures, including arguments about personal liberty, skepticism toward change, and the preservation of virtue, are in Robin’s telling camouflage for a reactionary project whose major motivation is the rejection of an “emancipatory” politics that

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This article appears as “Not So Enigmatic” in the September 9, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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