Michael Anton opens his new book, The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return, in the manner of the old school: with an untranslated, unattributed passage from Niccolo Machiavelli. Scholars of the nineteenth century often quote famous passages untranslated and unattributed, knowing that their intended audience would both have the skills to read multiple languages and the education to immediately recognize the source. After the First World War destroyed the international classically educated population, however, it has been necessary to provide readers with more intellectual support if you want to be understood.
In large part, that dynamic explains Anton’s book. He describes it as an attempt to warn both left and right about where we are going, but the left no longer educates people who can translate his words into thoughts that might move them. They will hear what he says only as hostile, foreign speech. If any bother to try to translate it at all, they will