Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quote of the Day

Ameritopia, like many po­lem­i­cal bad books in po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy, teems with mis­used ab­strac­tions and con­tains few em­piri­cal ex­am­ples. In chap­ters de­vot­ed to the Re­pub­lic, Le­vi­a­than, U­top­ia, and The Com­mun­ist Man­i­fes­to, Lev­in of­fers Cliff's Notes-like cap­sules of the works. His for­mu­la is to of­fer a brief phrase like, "as Locke ex­plains," fol­lowed by long quo­ta­tions that some­times go on for a page. (He also adores his own prose, as when he writes, "As I wrote in Liberty and Tyr­an­ny," then quotes him­self for near­ly half a page.) That's one way to pad a book.

- How can so bad a book, on so se­ri­ous a top­ic, sell so well?

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