WASHINGTON—Some forty-five ago one of the era’s great wits and finest writers, the Englishman, Malcolm Muggeridge, used to write about the Liberal Death Wish. He saw the Death Wish at work everywhere. In the liberals’ appeasement of the Soviets, he saw it. In liberals’ extravagant extension of the welfare state, he saw it. For a certitude, he was right. The liberals of the day died off and were replaced by Margaret Thatcher in Britain and by Ronald Reagan in America. Not much was heard of them for years until Tony Blair and Bill Clinton came along, and both men’s liberalism was greatly truncated.
The Current Crisis
WASHINGTON—Apropos of a 22-year-old deranged student’s slaughter of his male roommates, two co-eds, and another male student, as well as leaving 13 injured and in hospital, I have been doing my research. In the courses of which, I came across this quote on the front page of Tuesday’s New York Times. A second-year student in “global studies” at the university where the crimes were committed said in the news story’s second paragraph that, “If we don’t talk misogyny now, when are we going to talk about it?” She went on in the next paragraph with similar profundities.
It put me in mind of another quote from the Times on Sunday in the op-ed section by columnist Charles M. Blow. He was commenting on the owner of the Dallas Mavericks’ allegedly “bigoted” remark (though it seemed perfectly sensible to me) a few days before. Mr. Blow said the remark typified “the endlessly ached-for, perpetually stalled ‘national conversation on race’ that many believe is needed but neglected….”
WASHINGTON — As I reflect on the “inevitable” presidential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, I try to put it in historic context. She lacks the shifty eyes, darting hither and yon at her audience and the assembled press corps. Her brow betrays no beads of sweat. Nor is there any noticeable perspiration on her upper lip. She has never exactly said, “I’m not a crook.” Though she has certainly slipped up with plenty of other maladroit pronunciamentos, from her famous 1992 boast, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies,” to her more recent rant before a Congressional committee investigating Benghazi: “What difference at this point does it make?” Let me hasten to answer that it does indeed make a difference how violence originates in a faraway land where four Americans were about to be murdered.
WASHINGTON—The arrival last week of the enormous—829 pages!—and laborious U.S. National Climate Assessment, a report put together by 300 American worrywarts, reminds me of a little noted fact. The American left has no practical solution for many of the problems that agitate it, and that its neurotics hope will agitate us. Put another way, the left is given to setting the American people off on noble quests for which there is no solution. A case in point is global warming or climate change.
WASHINGTON—What do you think of the September vote in Great Britain to decide whether Scotland shall be free of London’s rule? Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since 1707. Yet in September Britain will go to the polls to vote “yes” or “no” as to the question, “Should Scotland be an independent country?” If a majority vote “yes,” Great Britain will be great no more.
The Act of Union in 1707 was a long time ago. It ushered in over 300 years of uniting—dare I say it—two great people, the Scots and the English. The Scots may have been portrayed as a junior partner, but they held their own. Edinburgh in the 1770s came to be called “the Athens of the North,” the home for a brilliant enlightenment with great thinkers such as David Hume and Adam Smith. Over the past 300 years the Scots have made splendid contributions to philosophy, science, the arts, commerce, warfare, and—forget not—drink. To this day its leading export is whiskey, and it is very good whiskey on a par with Tennessee bourbon, maybe even better.
WASHINGTON—There is something decidedly odd about the use of racially loaded terms in America today.
Black personalities use these terms on occasion, and no controversy whatsoever is attached to the event. Even when the terms are enunciated in public for all to see and to hear. When whites—often old and over the hill—use these terms and ideas—often behind closed doors—all hell breaks loose.
The latest occasion of this occurred when Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, a basketball team, was taped uttering racially divisive words and ignorant ideas to his obviously disgruntled lover. She handed over a tape of the conversation, apparently surreptitiously made, to an online scandal sheet TMZ and kaboom. Suddenly Sterling became one of the most notorious men in America and of course a modern American bigot. Of a sudden, the columnists and talking heads commenced a new round of chatter about how racism is still with us. After all, an eighty-year-old billionaire is spouting racist swill in the comfort of his own home.
WASHINGTON — My telephone is not ringing off the hook. No intriguing or inquiring emails have arrived on my computer. Yet, on Friday, a document drop from the Clinton Library revealed that years ago, in the 1990s, I was at the very heart of the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Now here we are almost a week later, and still no journalist, much less a historian, has called to ask me if I really was actively conspiring with the British press, select American newspapers, obscure right-wing political operators and, who knows, possibly foreign powers to create the gossamer of scandal over the Clinton White House. All this was reported in the documents.
It has always struck me as curious how news stories are reported in America or not reported. What standards must be met to land a story on the front page or even to decide that it is a story worth reporting at all.
WASHINGTON—Last week a national treasure spoke. That would be Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist, television commentator, and all around public sage. He also is a chess player.
Krauthammer noted that two months ago a petition bearing the signatures of some 110,000 tyrants was sent to the Washington Post—from where did it come I would like to know—demanding that the Post discontinue publishing articles that deny global warming or—who knows—take even a skeptical view of global warming. Yet Krauthammer assures us that precisely a day later his column containing the exact heresy ran in the Post. So, apparently the Washington Post, unlike the Los Angeles Times, will remain unintimidated by the global warmist tyrants, at least for now.
Spring is in the air, and one senses that it is again time for the college students of the land to engage in protest. It all began in the late 1960s, and one of the legacies of that period is that the campuses are evacuated as soon as possible. By May the student body will be vamoosing. Administrators have discovered that that soft, gentle, spring-like weather breeds discontent among the students, drunken carousal, violence, and criminality. It is best to return the inmates to their parents.
WASHINGTON—In August of 2008 at the Beijing Summer Olympics President George W. Bush had a talk with President Vladimir Putin. Georgia’s anti-Moscow president, Mikheil Saakashvili, had been uttering provocative sonorities about Russia, so Russian troops marched into Georgia much as they are doing today in Crimea. Mr. Bush reminded Mr. Putin that “I’ve been warning you Saakashvili is hot blooded.” To which Mr. Putin suavely responded, “I’m hot blooded too.” Mr. Bush’s rejoinder was “No, Vladimir. You’re cold blooded.” Well, whether the president of Russia is hot blooded or cold blooded or bloodless, his troops are in Crimea now, and Russia still has the same problem it had at the end of the Cold War. Its economy is not quite modern. In fact it is sickly. Its growth rate last year was 1.3 percent, hardly capable of sustaining a modern military.