A time to speak: selected writings and arguments
Since at least 1971, when he published a seminal article on constitutional interpretation in the Indiana Law Journal, Robert Bork has been the legal and moral conscience of America, reminding us of our founding principles and their cultural foundation. The scourge of liberal ideologues both before and after Ronald Reagan nominated him for the Supreme Court in 1987, Bork has for fifty years unwaveringly exposed—and explained—the hypocrisy and dereliction of duty endemic among our nation’s elites, the politicization and adversary activism of our courts, and the consequent degradation of American society.
Now, for the first time, Judge Bork has gathered together his most important and prophetic writings in A Time to Speak, including a foreword and commentary by the author. The volume includes more than sixty vintage Bork contributions on topics ranging from President Nixon to St. Thomas More, from abortion to antitrust policy, and from civil liberties to natural law. It also includes several of his judicial opinions and transcribed oral arguments. A Time to Speak is an indispensable book for all who have harkened to the truths spoken so forthrightly, in season and out, by this great American original.
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This hefty tome (715 pages) brings together essays and legal opinions written by Bork over a period of 45 years. It will undoubtedly help to seal Bork's standing as one of our era's foremost commentators on law and culture--particularly the struggle to preserve Western culture against its postmodern detractors. Bork identifies one of the foundations of the postmodern attack as the uneasy alliance of individualism and egalitarianism. As he writes in his essay "Hard Truths About the Culture War" (1995): "Individualism and egalitarianism may seem an odd pair, since liberty in any degree produces inequality, while equality of outcomes requires coercion that destroys liberty. If they are to operate simultaneously ... [they] must operate in different areas of life, and that is precisely what we see in today's culture. Radical egalitarianism advances, on the one hand, in areas of life and society where superior achievement is possible and would be rewarded but for coerced equality: quotas, affirmative action, income redistribution through progressive taxation for some, entitlement programs for others, and the tyranny of political correctness spreading through universities, primary and secondary schools, government, and even the private sector. Radical individualism, on the other hand, is demanded when there is no danger that achievement will produce inequality and people wish to be unhindered in the pursuit of pleasure. This finds expression particularly in the areas of sexuality and violence, and their vicarious enjoyment in popular entertainment." The union of radical individualism and radical egalitarianism have succeeded handsomely, says Bork, in eroding the foundations of our society. Authority is absent where it should be present, and vice-versa. This produces "cultural and moral relativism, whose end products include multiculturalism, sexual license, obscenity in the popular arts, an unwillingness to punish crime adequately and, sometimes, even to convict the obviously guilty." And thus we arrive at the paradox that is all too familiar in the contemporary Western world: Those who complain about "oppressive" "right-wing" "fascism" (i.e., ordinary law enforcement) are those most in love with the power of the state. This is because the radical egalitarian project, so at odds with a free society, depends for its success on the deployment of the full coercive force of the state. Bork summarizes beautifully this road to totalitarianism: "Modern liberalism presses our politics to the left because egalitarianism is hostile to the authorities and hierarchies--moral, religious, social, economic, and intellectual--that are characteristic of a bourgeois or traditional culture and a capitalist economy. Yet modern liberalism is not hostile to hierarchies as such. Egalitarianism requires hierarchy because equality of condition cannot be achieved or approximated without coercion. The coercers will be bureaucrats and politicians who will, and already do, form a new elite class. Political and governmental authority replace the authorities of family, church, profession, and business. The project is to sap the strength of these latter institutions so that individuals stand bare before the state, which, liberals assume with considerable justification, they will administer. We will be coerced into virtue, as modern liberals define virtue: a ruthlessly egalitarian society." Bork then probes the nature and roots of these authoritarian administrators who would refashion society according to their notions of virtue. He notes that Joseph Schumpeter "first articulated the idea that capitalism requires and hence produces a large intellectual class." The members of this New Class are not geniuses or scholars, they are simply those who transmit ideas: run-of-the-mill journalists, academics, teachers, lawyers, and bureaucrats. They became jealous because society traditionally bestowed its rewards and prestige on the doers, those who built the world: inventers, entrepreneurs, military heroes, and the like. Matters are made worse because the New...
Review: A Time to Speak: Selected Writings and ArgumentsUser Review - Goodreads
"Once we fall into the habit of sacrificing the integrity of law in the service of moral passions bad things are certain to follow, as our history abundantly demonstrates." -RHB Like most anthologies ...
A Country I Do Not Recognize: The Legal Assault on American Values
Robert H. Bork
Limited preview - 2005
Georgia Oral Argument 1976
Brief Against Vice President Spiro Agnew 1973
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