Originally published 07/16/2013
Corey Robin teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.Here’s a photo of a letter Margaret Thatcher sent to Friedrich von Hayek on February 17, 1982, in which she draws a comparison between Britain and Pinochet’s Chile. I wrote about the letter in chapter 2 of The Reactionary Mind.It now turns out, according to Hayek scholar Bruce Caldwell, that there is no preceding letter from Hayek to Thatcher, as many of us had assumed. So we don’t know what exactly it was that Hayek said that elicited this response from Thatcher. Caldwell speculates, in an email to John Quiggin that I was copied on, that Thatcher may have been remarking here upon comments that Hayek might have made—about the need for Thatcher to abolish the “special privileges” of trade unions in Britain (as Pinochet had done in Chile)—at a dinner on February 2....
Originally published 02/04/2013
Corey Robin is an American political theorist, journalist and associate professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.In 1942, Brooklyn College hired a young instructor to teach a summer course on Modern European history. Though academically trained, the instructor was primarily known as the author of a series of incendiary articles in the Jewish press on Jewish politics and Zionism.An active though ambivalent Zionist, the instructor did not shy from scorching criticism of the movement for Jewish settlement in Palestine. She had already come to some unsettling conclusions in private. In an unpublished essay, she compared the Zionists to the Nazis, arguing that both movements assumed that the Jews were “totally foreign” to other peoples based on their “inalterable substance.” She wrote in a letter that she found “this territorial experiment” of the Jews in Palestine “increasingly problematic.” By the spring of 1942, she was more public in her criticisms. In March, she wrote that the Irgun—the Jewish paramilitary group whose most prominent commander was Menachem Begin—was a “fascist organization” that “employed terrorist methods in their fight against Arabs in Palestine.”