Slouching Towards Gomorrah
Jude Wanniski
November 12, 1996


Memo To: A Polyconomics Client
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Slouching Toward Gomorrah by Robert Bork

Bought the book. Read the introduction. Picked through it here and there. As I thought, it is an extremely narrow analytic. Because Robert Bork does not have the slightest understanding of political economics, he looks down his nose at the world beneath him and concludes we are all going to hell in a handbasket. There is not even a serious attempt to discover why these social pathologies exist. There is one citation relative to taxation. He has one assumption at the beginning of the book, which says the economy is in better shape than ever before in history, yet all these ungrateful people are complaining that they don't have enough.

Look at the Minister Louis Farrakhan reference and you will find him dismissing Farrakhan as a racist and anti-Semite. There isn't the slightest attempt to investigate what went on at the Million Man March. He asserts that there is less racism in our society now than ever before. He writes about the Charles Murray book, The Bell Curve, as if it were a scholarly tract, when it is merely a thinly disguised racist tract. For Bork to entertain the notion that skin pigmentation places a limit on a human being's cognitive skills underscores why Farrakhan is justified in citing a rampant white supremacy among our intellectual elites.

The more I skimmed the book, the more I realized why Bork's opponents were determined to keep him off the Supreme Court. As I told you last week, I have known and admired Bork since we met in 1977.1 was also an ardent supporter of his during his confirmation ordeal and talked to him by telephone several times during that process. Yet even then, I was not overly distressed to see him rejected. The most fair-minded blacks I know gave him every opportunity during his confirmation hearings to explain away several of the things he had written about racism and he could not satisfy them. And I could see why. Bork is extremely intelligent, so intelligent that he can use his IQ to do anything he wants in interpreting the Constitution and have it seem reasonable. The thing that tore it for so many blacks I know were his arguments against the Supreme Court decision that nullified the racial covenants in St. Louis zoning law after WWII.

It takes all kinds of people to make a society. I have flaws of a different kind that make me an even less likely prospect for the Supreme Court. If Bork had been confirmed, I believe he would have been a good Justice, but his book does demonstrate a blind spot that explains why he made so many liberals crazy. At least I have a working theory on why our social pathologies exist in a new and different way, which Bork refuses to see. It is because we have just had a 50-year Cold War and a 30-year decline in our national living standards. We have been slouching toward Gomorrah, but that is now being reversed as we repair the mechanisms of our nation-state that had fallen into disrepair during the war.

When you called and asked me to read the book, which so impressed you, it was in that sense that I said Bork only focuses on one branch of a tree. Like the blind man who grabs an elephant's tail and concludes an elephant is like a snake, Bork's complaints about what he feels when he reaches out his hand are misleading and distracting. His book is a compendium of social pathologies, but we don't have to read a book to know they exist all around us. If we devote ourselves to the roots of the tree, we can move more rapidly away from Gomorrah. Instead of cursing the darkness, let us concentrate on lighting candles.