Saturday, April 07, 2007


That's the word of the day over at Conblogeration.

That triggered this memory:
I remember the first time I became aware of this word was when I was in high school.

I was reading Arthur S. Link's biography of Woodrow Wilson and Link quoted Wilson calling a position taken by an opponent as anathema to him.

It's the perfect Wilsonian word, when you think about it. Wilson always saw things in moral absolutes, even when the position he anathematized was one he himself adhered to just a few years before.

It isn't that Wilson was a flip-flopper. Rather, he converted, as when he moved from being a conservative Democrat to one of the progressive stripe. Once Wilson "converted," he couldn't understand why or how anyone could disagree with him and he viewed those who opposed him as reprehensible.

This accounts for why, as president of Princeton University, governor of New Jersey, and President of the United States, his initial successes were always followed by spectacular failures.

People who anathematize others almost always eventually become anathema themselves.
[For more on Woodrow Wilson, see here and here.]

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