Harvard professor Patrice Higonnet has written a bad, bad book, Attendant Cruelties, which doles out grades to leading figures in American history, “depending,” as Adam Kirsch writes, “on how well they suit his present-minded criteria of ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion,’ enlightened ‘patriotism’ and iniquitous ‘nationalism.’”
Higonnet really, really hates President Bush, comparing him not only to Hitler but also to Stalin. “With the illogicality of malice,” he portrays the president
as simultaneously incompetent and omnipotent, feckless and relentless, the bully of his advisers and the dupe of his advisers. Reckoning the sum of these contradictions tells us nothing about Mr. Bush or about America, but it tells us a great deal about the passionate, self-delighting, deeply irresponsible hatred that now prevails even among the most prestigious and best educated precincts of the Left.