30 April 2020, The Tablet

Be very scared


Be very scared

Former Trump surrogate Steve Bannon
Photo: PA, Jane Barlow

 

War for Eternity: The Return of Traditionalism and the Rise of the Populist Right
BENJAMIN R. TEITELBAUM
(ALLEN LANE, 336 PP, £20)
Tablet bookshop price £18 • Tel 020 7799 4064

This is a most alarming book, with a terrible, pertinent relevance. In what used to pass for “normal” times – let us say a couple of months ago – it would have been easy to dismiss it as an interesting dive into a political byway, the sort of thing with which academics in the American Midwest tend to concern themselves, yet of little concern to the rest of us and to the continued functioning of our lives and times. But that was then.

The horrid truth is that this author has produced a book to make us tremble. It is a study of the new fashion for “Traditionalism”, a ­philosophy with which I was previously ­unfamiliar and which has nothing whatever to do with the organisation of society in a manner which would have been pleasing to our grandparents. It is, rather, a way of thinking which is the antithesis of progress. It is all extremely complicated, but what you need to understand today is that the Covid-19 crisis is just what the adherents of Traditionalism have been waiting for.

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