Yesterday the New York Times Book Review published Jim Sleeper’s reconsideration of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind: “Allan Bloom and the conservative mind.” Among the conservative minds criticized by Sleeper through Sleeper’s Bloom is that of the New Criterion’s Roger Kimball. Kimball responds in a long, interesting post at Armavirumque: “The New York Times revises Allan Bloom.”
As Kimball notes in an update to his post, my own close encounter with Jim Sleeper came two years ago when he attacked my daughter as a “neo-Stalinist” and “Fedayeen Uncle Sam” in the name, of course, of civil discourse at Yale. My daughter’s offense, in Sleeper’s eyes, had been to co-author a critique of an antiwar symposium at Yale for FrontPage. Our friend Hugh Hewitt told part of the story in a column for the Daily Standard: “Tough guy.” Sleeper and Hewitt continued the exchange here.
This afternoon Sleeper wrote, directing my attention to Kimball’s post and asking me to declare whether I think that Kimball “has done quite the right thing” in his post. I’m going to recuse myself from this particular argument. I encourage interested readers to take a look at both Sleeper’s essay and Kimball’s post, and to revisit Bloom’s book. I would add only that of the many fine essays occasioned by Bloom’s book, in my opinion the best is by my friend Tom West, a former student of Bloom. Tom’s essay is “Allan Bloom and America.”
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