Why the Neocons Hated Mel Bradford

The neocons hated the late Professor Mel Bradford so much that during their campaign to deny him the job of chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which President Reagan nominated him for, they spread the absurdly false rumor that he was a Hitler sympathizer. Straussian high priest of Lincoln idolatry Harry Jaffa even stooped so low as to compare him to Hitler in his latest book of Lincoln mythology, published just a few years ago.

The reason for this extreme hatred, I believe, is that the brilliant Professor Bradford had blown the neocons’ cover as disseminators of misinformation in the cause of statism while posing as “conservatives.” Here’s Professor Bradford in his book, A Better Guide Than Reason:

“[T]he capstone of this case against Lincoln” is “what he has done to the language of American political discourse . . . . When I say that Lincoln was our first Puritan president I am chiefly referring to . . . his habit of wrapping up his policy in the idiom of Holy Scripture, concealing within the Trojan horse of his . . . moral superiority an agenda that would never have been approved if presented in any other form. . . . In this universe of discourse . . . every ‘good cause’ is a reason for increasing the scope of government (emphasis added). All that counts is the telos, the general objective, and bullying is not merely allowed, but required.”

Thus, all neocons focus on Lincoln’s political rhetoric while ignoring (or making lame excuses for) his actions. Thus, AEI’s Walter Berns calls Lincoln our “national poet” whose political rhetoric should be used to persuade America’s youth to join the military and participate in perpetual wars for perpetual peace. And Harry Jaffa absurdly writes in the current (June 2004) issue of Imprimis, published by Hillsdale College, that Lincoln’s political rhetoric, “no less than Scripture, is the voice of God.”


6:46 pm on June 23, 2004