Just How Right-Wing Was Attila the Hun?

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From my advice column:

Why, when we describe a person as conservative, do we say that they are "to the right of Attila the Hun"? Just how right-wing was Attila the Hun?

D.W., Los Angeles, Calif.

Dear D.W.,

Attila the Hun was very right-wing, even compared with other Huns, who were, as a rule, advocates of small government, school choice, and beheading. Attila first came to public attention when he issued his "Contract With Mongolia," which called for lower taxes, ending state subsidies for unfunded federal mandates, the pillaging of Scythia, and an end to collective bargaining. His decision to invade western Europe was motivated in part by a desire to dismantle the welfare state, and in part by a desire to rape government employees. Though Attila was in many respects a social conservative, he was also an advocate of postnatal abortion. After retiring from politics, he worked as an executive at Koch Industries, and appeared on Dancing With the Stars.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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