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In this Wikipedia article I read

The neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris lauded the book as "wonderful".[2] Writing in the National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty praised it as "informed by actual reporting across the Continent, and a quality of writing that manages to be spritely and elegiac at the same time. Murray's is also a truly liberal intellect, in that he is free from the power that taboo exerts over the European problem, but he doesn’t betray the slightest hint of atavism or meanspiritedness

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, ColleenV Nov 21 '17 at 15:35

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  • The text refers to a "European problem", which isn't further defined. Social taboos "exert power" over that problem (in some way which is also unspecified). As an independent free-thinker ("liberal intellect"), Murray isn't affected by the power of those taboos. For some unspecified reason, the writer thinks that given the above, we should expect Murray to be primitive and/or petty-minded, but in fact he is not (or at least, he doesn't appear to be). – FumbleFingers Nov 21 '17 at 13:37
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The confusion here is probably the use of the verb 'to betray', which in this context is meaning 'to reveal or expose'.

Also 'atavism' is a very rare word indeed, basically meaning to show characteristics of an ancestor.

So the sentence could translate as: "He doesn't show the slightest hint of atavism or meanness." (mean-spiritedness <<< should have the dash like this.)

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