Gore Vidal, American Cicero

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Gore Vidal
is our American Cicero. He has valiantly stood as our golden shield
of republican virtue against the brassy sword of empire yielded
by plutocratic militarists and their vulgar plebeians.

For
decades he has, in the noble tradition of his stoic grandfather,
Oklahoma Senator Thomas Pryor Gore, eloquently spoken truth in the
face of power. When in 1933, FDR confiscated the people’s gold,
Thomas Gore said, “Why that’s just plain stealing, isn’t it Mr.
President?” Vidal has confronted every presidential rogue’s administration,
from Truman to Bush, with the same damning admonition concerning
our essential rights and liberties, confiscated by the National
Security welfare-warfare State.

As our most
distinguished man of letters, he has produced a body of work unequaled
in breadth and scope.

In his latest
composition, Point
to Point Navigation: A Memoir
, which joins his earlier,
Palimpsest:
A Memoir
, Vidal, with characteristic grace and acerbic poignancy,
sums up his life, loves, tragedies, and triumphs — and that of the
reckless, feckless civilization he sees dying before his fading
eyes.

Once
a rather conventional Left-Liberal critic of the American duopoly,
Gore Vidal, in the late 1980s, metamorphed into a quixotic gentleman
of the Old Right. As with his literary predecessor Albert Jay Nock,
author of The
Memoirs of a Superfluous Man
, later-day expatriate Vidal
lived much of his life abroad. This made him a more disinterested
and reflective observer of the foibles and follies of American civilization.

And like his
paleolibertarian forebear Garet Garrett, author of The
People’s Pottage
, Gore Vidal, in his brilliant essays
and historical novels, has cataloged the death of the American Republic
and the rise of the Anglo-American imperial colossus, from the salad
days of Teddy Roosevelt and Cecil Rhodes, to the present Tofu era
of George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

Through it
all, Gore Vidal has remained a man of incorruptible character, conviction,
and principle.

January
8, 2007

Charles
A. Burris [send him mail]
is a history instructor in an American high school.

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