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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

E.L. Doctorow’s Political Axioms

E.L. Doctorow has made his career from stories on political themes. His view on American politics, if one can attribute an author’s books to his character, is that those in power take power for personal gain, and use power to keep those who don’t believe as they do in check.

If one looks at American politics, this has always been thus except for one president: George Washington. His agenda was to establish a viable socio-political system that worked for business, which, certainly at that time, indeed was paramount to life. After Washington, politics, and political parties, created a system of inside-job politics, dirty-dealing, graft, self-promotion and hegemony, avarice, greed, and power-hungry people who simply weren’t — and are not — very smart.

Doctorow’s “The Book of Daniel” investigates the hysteria and political maneuvering around the social contract between American citizens and their freedom to choose political parties with which they might affiliate themselves. The outcome was criminal, and it was deadly. It also proved, for those who didn’t think so then (nor now) — All politics is self-interest. All politicians hold self-interest for career and money. All government is political, without any social conscience whatsoever.


january 29, 2012

“All societies indoctrinate their children. The marvelous Mrs. Goldstein in total innocence taught us the glorious history of our brave westward expansion: our taming of the barbaric Indians, our brave stand at the Alamo, the mighty railroads winning the plains. Thus I must understand the nature of the conspiracy against me: it is mounted in full faith and righteousness by the students of Mrs. Goldstein.”

– E.L. Doctorow, “The Book of Daniel”

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