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Corey Robin

Corey Robin teaches at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. His books include The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin and Fear: The History of a Political Idea.

Achieving Disunity

Corey Robin, 25 October 2012

If you look at books published in the years between 1944 and 1963 – books like An American Dilemma, The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Power Elite, The Organisation Man, The Feminine Mystique and The Making of the English Working Class – you’ll find they depict a world moving towards an almost claustrophobic cohesion. Classes consolidate, whites push down on blacks, blue...

Downgrading Obama

Corey Robin, 25 August 2011

The debt crisis confronting the Obama administration is the product of war and taxes. There is little dispute that the origins of the crisis predate Obama’s election. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, the US had a $2 trillion budget surplus. Many believed that if the country merely continued on the path set by Bill Clinton, the national debt, then $5.7 trillion, would be eliminated by the end of the decade. Bush chose a different way. He cut taxes, reducing revenues by $1.8 trillion. He declared a general war on terror and waged two specific wars. Financed entirely by borrowing – a first in American history – the wars and related increases in defence spending added $1.5 trillion to the debt. The financial crisis and ensuing recession further reduced revenues. By the time he left office, Bush had squandered the surplus and nearly doubled the size of the debt, adding more to it than any president in US history.

Antonin Scalia

Corey Robin, 10 June 2010

Elena Kagan, Barack Obama’s nominee to replace the retiring Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee in late June. Before she is confirmed by the committee, she will have to answer questions about her views on the constitution and her lack of judicial experience. One question she probably will not be asked, however, is what...

Careerism and Hannah Arendt

Corey Robin, 4 January 2007

Last year marked the centenary of Hannah Arendt’s birth. From Slovenia to Waco, conferences, readings and exhibitions were convened in her honour. This month, Schocken Books is issuing a new collection of her writings, its fifth publication of her work in four years. Penguin has reissued On Revolution, Eichmann in Jerusalem and Between Past and Future. And Yale has inaugurated a new series, ‘Why X Matters’, with Elisabeth Young-Bruehl’s Why Arendt Matters. Arendt would undoubtedly have been pleased by all this. She didn’t like attention, but she did love birthdays. Birth meant the arrival of a new being who would, or could, say and do things no one had said or done before.

In the Name of Security

Corey Robin, 19 October 2006

According to John Cheever, 1948 was ‘the year everybody in the United States was worried about homosexuality’. And nobody was more worried than the federal government, which was rumoured to be teeming with gays and lesbians. One might think that Washington’s attentions would have been focused elsewhere – on the Soviet Union, for example, or on Communist spies – but in 1950, President Truman’s advisers warned him that ‘the country is more concerned about the charges of homosexuals in the government than about Communists.’ The executive branch responded immediately. That year, the State Department fired ‘perverts’ at the rate of one a day, more than twice the figure for suspected Communists. Charges of homosexuality ultimately accounted for a quarter to a half of all dismissals in the State and Commerce Departments, and in the CIA. Only 25 per cent of Joseph McCarthy’s fan letters complained of ‘red infiltration’; the rest fretted about ‘sex depravity’.

In the Name of National Security

Corey Robin, 19 May 2005

The 20th century, it’s said, taught us a simple lesson about politics: of all the motivations for political action, none is as lethal as ideology. The lust for money may be distasteful, the desire for power ignoble, but neither will drive its devotees to the criminal excess of an idea on the march. Whether the idea is the triumph of the working class or of a master race, ideology leads...

How the US did for Guatemala

Corey Robin, 18 November 2004

“The Guatemalan regime threw into the countryside an army so modernised – and well trained and equipped by the US – that by 1981 it could conduct the first colour-coded genocide in history: ‘Military analysts marked communities and regions according to colours. White spared those thought to have no rebel influence. Pink identified areas in which the insurgents had limited presence; suspected guerrillas and their supporters were to be killed but the communities left standing. Red gave no quarter: all were to be executed and villages razed.’”

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