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Commonplaces

Piquant excerpts lifted from Touchstone editors' own reading & listening.



Inquisition as such, that is, apart from methods and severity of results, has remained a live institution. The many dictatorships of the twentieth century have relied on it, and in free countries it thrives ad hoc—hunting down German sympathizers during the First World War, interning Japanese-Americans during the Second, and pursuing Communist fellow-travelers during the Cold War. In the United States at the present time the workings of "political correctness" in universities and the speech police that punishes persons and corporations for words on certain topics quaintly called "sensitive" are manifestations of the permanent spirit of inquisition.

Jacques Barzun
From Dawn to Decadence (2000)


Society Commonplaces #3 July/August 2020

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