In this episode of the First Things Podcast, Helen Andrews provides some historical perspective on the choice Americans must make this November—between two styles of dictator, the personalist (Trump) and the clientelist (Clinton). She reminds us that FDR combined the two styles, and she warns that just because he is not popularly remembered as a dictator doesn't mean he wasn't one. (It might be a mark of his success in dictating the nature of our post-constitutional order.) Then, Matthew Walther previews a new edition of T. H. White’s Arthurian novel The Once and Future King. After summarizing the excruciatingly weird life of the agnostic novelist, Walther observes that the novel is remarkably affirmative of the metaphysical claims of medieval Catholicism. He also argues that it is not a “fantasy” novel in any familiar sense. Finally, Walther takes aim at a lesser White, explaining why William Strunk and E. B. White’s vaunted manual The Elements of Style is overrated. Also why haters of the passive voice should read that Orwell essay more closely.
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