R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. documents a political suicide — the Infantile Left and Stealth Socialism.
The characteristics of a baby or child, says Webster’s.
Being infantile is a charming characteristic — in a baby or child. In adults? Adults charged with the serious responsibility of discussing or actually running public policy?
Never good. As seen here in this story about Occupy Wall Street, replete with photo of a protester defecating on a police car.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. has been observing and writing about this kind of ludicrous behavior that he terms the “Infantile Left” for some 40-plus years through the magazine that he created and you are reading, The American Spectator.
What brought this memorable photo of a defecating Occupy protestor to mind was reading the stunning, pull-back-and-survey-the-battlefield book that is Tyrrell’s new book, The Death of Liberalism.
The book is nothing less than an autopsy conducted while the battle still rages. An astute recognition that Liberalism’s defenders are being reduced by the day if not the hour to the political equivalent of the survivors of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, the latter known to history as the high-water mark of the Confederacy. A great swarming, savage last-assault across the political battlefields into the incessant cannon and rifle fire of the American majority. Leaving in the aftermath not only massive Liberal casualties on the battlefield, but inducing a sense of crippling psychological failure among the Liberal survivors, of which at the moment the Occupy Wall Street debacle — they of the defecating-on-police-cars and rape tents crowd — is the most vivid example.
The irony? It wasn’t always so.
Classical liberalism, as Tyrrell states, originally “stood for adherence to individual liberty, to tolerance, to reason, and for many of us, to empiricism.” The classic liberalism of a George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and the others known today as the Founding Fathers but one example, if the example most familiar to Americans.
Tyrrell cites this wonderful definition of classical liberalism given all the way back in 1873 by England’s Sir William Harcourt, who made the point in a talk at Oxford. Liberty, said Harcourt,
…does not consist in making others do what you think is right. The difference between a free Government and a Government which is not free is principally this — that a Government which is not free interferes with everything it can, and a free Government interferes with nothing except what it must. A despotic government tries to make everybody do what it wishes, a Liberal Government tries, so far as the safety of society will permit, to allow everybody to do what he wishes.
Harcourt anticipated the reign of Obama and Pelosi by 139 years. In the style of true conservatives everywhere, he understood the eternal human nature — and its temptations with centralized power.
Tyrrell employs a literary device that originated with the late William F. Buckley, Jr. To wit, separating the original meaning of “liberal” in its classic sense from today’s term by capitalizing the word to “Liberal” or “Liberalism.” It is a useful device to differentiate what has come to mean two very, very different belief systems, one of them appallingly nuts.
For a small sample of just how infantile one can see the Infantile Left at work here in Oakland, California in 2011, in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, at the Pentagon in 1967, in Los Angeles in 1992 or all manner of places in 1986 when Ronald Reagan bombed Libya in response to an attack on U.S. military personnel in then-West Germany. Here’s an interesting one with Infantile Left expressing itself on the environment. And who could miss these two bookmarks to the career of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry doing the Infantile Left gig here (as captured in a Swiftboat ad) and here, where he windsurfed as a presidential candidate. And there’s Hillary as potential president
The examples are endless, and you can’t make it up.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online