A great man died yesterday: Dr, Angelo M. Codevilla, who was walking home from church when he was hit by a drunk driver. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.
Herewith, a brief summary of Codevilla’s resume:
Angelo M. Codevilla (born May 25, 1943) is professor emeritus of international relations at what is now the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. He served as a U.S. Navy officer, a foreign service officer, and professional staff member of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate. Codevilla’s books and articles range from French and Italian politics to the thoughts of Machiavelli and Montesquieu to arms control, war, the technology of ballistic missile defenses, and a broad range of international topics. Articles by Codevilla have appeared in Commentary, Foreign Affairs, National Review, and the The New Republic. His op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also been published in Political Science Reviewer, Intercollegiate Review, Politica.
Codevilla was in the forefront of the wave of critics attacking the American political establishment. He was among the first to capture the essence of “America’s ruling class” and its distance from the “country class” over which it presumed to reign. The following, from a 2010 essay, neatly encapsulates his conclusions:
Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels’ wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges — civic as well as economic — to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly. This, incidentally, is close to Aristotle’s view of democracy. Hence our ruling class’s standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government — meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc. Hence more power for the ruling class has been our ruling class’s solution not just for economic downturns and social ills but also for hurricanes and tornadoes, global cooling and global warming. A priori, one might wonder whether enriching and empowering individuals of a certain kind can make Americans kinder and gentler, much less control the weather. But there can be no doubt that such power and money makes Americans ever more dependent on those who wield it. Let us now look at what this means in our time.
We needed this thinker, who was all too soon taken from us. Over the years to come, we will be forcibly reminded of the value of his insights. Rest in peace, Dr. Codevilla.