John S. Saloma III: Ominous Politics: The New Conservative Labyrinth; Hill and Wang; New York.

Because Goliath laughed when David came against him with a sling shot and five smooth stones, we may safely assume that the giant was neither a leftist nor a liberal. For as Ominous Politics by John S. Saloma III makes clear, liberals and leftists do not snicker when up start foes begin to put a pebble or two into their scrips. Instead, they quake, they tremble, they gnash their teeth, and they whine “Unfair!” Indeed, there is something sub­limely absurd about a book that can on one page admit the exis­tence of “some 100 liberally oriented public-interest law firms” and on the facing page portray the recent emergence of  “some dozen conservative re­gional public-interest law firms” as an ominous development. Given the author’s admission that left-liberal causes have long enjoyed the support of ”wealthy contributors, labor unions, liberal foundations, (and) some corporations” and of “the overwhelming majority of professionals in the communications media,” his laments about the sinister rise of conservative think-tanks, media monitors, and political action groups are ridiculously disingenuous. Predictably, in the final chapter of this hastily written little volume, every pretense of logic and fairness disappears in a partisan appeal to “the center-left … to restore the balance.”

Mr.Saloma, who died a year before his book was published, seems never to have thought about the possibility that the “balance” to which he refers was actually a highly undemocratic left-liberal hegemony that excluded conservative groups, who are now quite justified in challenging their exclusion. But then the very survival of over­-grown left-liberalism requires, as did the survival of the giant from Gath, that certain things not enter the head.