Give Max’s Foundering Memoir the Boot

I am more familiar with the work of Levi Strauss than I am the writings of Leo Strauss, except to say: where one made dungarees strong enough to withstand the strain of shoveling dung, the other made it easy to know who was full of shit. Regarding the latter, you do not have to own a pair of Levi’s, though you should wear a set of gloves, when turning the pages of Max Boot’s latest collection of bullshit, The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right.

You do not have to parse his words, or decode his comments with a UC Berkeley signet ring, to know Boot thinks Donald Trump is a fascist. What Boot does not say about fascism, which is more euphemistic than explanatory, which is an epithet without an exact definition—whose definition Boot appropriates in the service of damning President Trump—what Boot excludes from his description, though he levels the accusation elsewhere, is the charge of anti-Semitism.

Boot compares Trump to Hitler—repeatedly—though he also connects him with that armchair fascist from CBS Television City: Archie Bunker, whose surname evokes images of the führer in his subterranean lair, screaming at his generals—and shouting about “the Jews”—until this monorchid, syphilitic monster, in a final act of ball-lessness, blows his brains out.

Is Boot this much of a jughead, that he cannot distinguish one fictional Archie from another, that neither Archie Andrews nor Archie Bunker is an anti-Semite? It was, after all, the latter who wore a yarmulke and eulogized his late Jewish friend; who joined a temple (Beth Shalom) and bought his niece a Star of David necklace, so he could raise her in the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Back in the real world, the “Tree of Life Award” from the Jewish National Fund hangs on the wall of Trump’s office at Trump Tower. It has been there for the last 35 years.

About the other Tree of Life, the synagogue in Pittsburgh, I have only this to say: Either Donald Trump is so anti-Semitic that, in a decades-long attempt at aversion therapy, he has gone so far as to embrace his daughter Ivanka’s conversion to Modern Orthodox Judaism, her marriage to Jared Kushner, and welcome her children—his Jewish grandchildren—as his own, all in an effort to rid himself of hate—or he is not a fascist.

None of this seems to matter to Boot, a self-described historian, whose summary of the history of the Republican Party is tantamount to a brief daybreak of freedom followed by a long—and ongoing—national nightmare of Nixonian dog whistles, Reaganite doggerel, and racist diktats (in the form of tweets) by Donald Trump.

Never mind Richard Nixon’s successful desegregation of schools in the South or Ronald Reagan’s Rose Garden speech in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Against such facts it is vain to argue with Max Boot.

Such is history as it is taught in topsy-turvydom.

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