Spagetes's Reviews > Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West

Voltaire's Bastards by John Ralston Saul
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's review
Nov 18, 2011

really liked it
Read from November 11, 2011 to April 07, 2012

You have to filter through the dense, rambling, pompous at times dirt for the insightful gems. There is a payload here but it's a lot of effort to get to. It's hard to pin down a concise thesis because he goes off into so many tangents and covers so much ground. That ground is the entire scope of western civilization going back to ancient Greece including political hierarchies, military strategy, economics, academia, law, art, literature and so much more. Essentially the point is that over time elites have used bureacracy, specialization and obfuscation to cover their incompetence and corruption, and to shut citizens out of decisions which are in the public interest. He is at his best when critiqing the political and economic system. His cultural critiques ranging from painting to comic books to sitcoms, are reaching and tangential to the main point.

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