The death last week of Daniel Patrick Moynihan throws into sad relief the state of partisan politics today. Steven F. Hayward, writing on National Review Online, mourned the death of "old liberalism," too. He quoted Moynihan, perhaps the most thoughtful of modern liberals, as saying, "Liberalism faltered when it turned out it could not cope with truth." Moynihan himself paid the price for truthfulness years later, in the fight over Hillarycare. "He's not one of us…We'll roll right over him," Hayward quotes Time magazine as reporting at the time, quoting an anonymous Clinton official.
But in truth, liberalism does not "falter" -- would that it were so kind. Instead, confronted with failure, it lashes out. In the first week alone of the war on Iraq, ordinary perusal of the news would turn up:
• A San Francisco protest sign: "We support our troops when they SHOOT their officers."
• A destroyed 9/11 memorial, including a hundred or more defaced American flags, in Hayward, California.
• A report from Moscow, Idaho (March 26, AP), of a pro-American demonstrator falling ill after being giving a cup of cocoa by partisans of the other side.
• A story (March 27, AP) of teenagers throwing rocks at a uniformed National Guard sergeant (female!) in Montpelier, Vermont, then continuing to harass the Sergeant as she tried to shop later.
• And a Columbia University associate professor, Nicholas de Genova, calling for "a million Mogadishus" and for the defeat of the United States in Iraq. De Genova made his remarks -- explicit calls for slaughter -- at a "teach-in" (that's a revival meeting for leftists) first described by Long Island Newsday March 28.
This isn't new, unfortunately. Here's a previously unpublished story, which I'll have to disguise a bit because it was told to me in confidence. In the early years of the Reagan administration (every bit the irritant to the left as today's Bush actions in Iraq), there was a man, an academic, closely identified with Reagan's ideas. This man lived with his family on a ranch in the desert Southwest, and they kept a menagerie: giraffe, eland, goose, pheasant, peacock, deer, goats, and so forth. He returned from a trip to find his animals slaughtered -- throats cut -- and dumped on his front porch.
This viciousness stains every bit of the so-called "progressive" movement. Yes, there are right-wing crazies around, too; see the cover story in the latest National Review for a dissection of the "paleoconservatives." But the day-to-day advocacy of death to Americans, unrenounced by the mainstream Democratic Party, is characteristic only of the left. And it's gone so far now that it must be considered on its own, as a distinct threat to Western civilization, particularly as the Bush administration moves ahead in its courageous attempt to re-shape the world according to peaceful and democratic ideals.
What is we're fighting, exactly? In The Game of Nations: The Amorality of Power Politics, by Miles Copeland (out of print), Copeland, a former CIA operative, told about one analyst's inspiration: Let's imagine, he said, that the Soviet Union were trying to isolate world supplies of strategic metals. What would the USSR be doing? And the game turned out to be true. Soviet "client-state" wars of the 1950s and 1960s tracked very closely with world sources of those strategic metals.
In other words, if it looks a whole lot like something is being directed for some purpose, it probably is.
We can see, in the script followed by protesters in the streets, by commentators of a certain stripe, and by the spin of the news media, a certain organized consistency. They are trying out messages, seeing how they work, trying, by the power of propaganda, to achieve a certain aim: the defeat of the United States.
New York Post columnist John Podhoretz took part in a panel discussion at the Columbia School of Journalism last week. There, he heard Kevin Buckley, a contributing editor from Playboy, say that George W. Bush planned to cancel the 2004 elections. And Podhoretz drolly reported that Katrina van den Heuvel, the commie editor of the Nation, seconded that notion: "I heard that in Moscow last week!"
I guess she thought she was among friends, giving the game away like that.