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James T. Hodgkinson: Just Another Well-Intentioned Progressive
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
by

Washington

Have you followed the drift of the Mainstream Media (MSM) as to what provoked James T. Hodgkinson to attempt the massacre of the Republican baseball team as it practiced in Alexandria, Virginia last week? Not the Democratic team, not the Washington Nationals team, but the Republican team. Well, it was not necessarily Hodgkinson’s politics we are told. After all, his politics were pretty much mainstream progressive. According to the MSM, it was “a Volatile Home Life in Illinois.” That is the way the New York Times put it on the newspaper’s front page Sunday.

Strong drink was alluded to. Anger and violence were also mentioned as features in Hodgkinson’s rural Illinois home. Moreover, Hodgkinson was abusive toward the foster children that he and his wife of 30 years had under their care. One of the children committed suicide by lighting herself afire. Another died of a drug overdose, and there was a grandniece that was dragged around by her hair. Hodgkinson was also charged with property damage and mayhem sufficient to have earned him a couple of misdemeanor counts in recent years. It makes one wonder what the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service — which the Times blasély mentioned — is good for.

Yet as I say the MSM is soft-pedaling this lunatic’s politics, and I can see why. There was nothing particularly unusual about them. He could have been one of Bernie’s nondescript supporters at the Philadelphia convention last summer. In the world of the American left there is nothing extreme about carrying placards denouncing “The Rich” or “the Giant Corporations.” There is nothing too extreme one might say about the environment or the plight of the poor or the fate of the LGBT community.

And why not bring the whole family down to Central Park for a little Shakespeare in the Park. This month we are featuring “Julius Caesar,” and in place of Caesar we are featuring the President of the United States who dies of multiple knife wounds on stage. Why did not, say, the John Birch Society think of such a skit back in John F. Kennedy’s day. On the other hand, the whole family can curl up in front of the Stephen Colbert or Bill Maher television shows, and watch these comic geniuses test the limits of the First Amendment.

The fact is that James T. Hodgkinson was in many ways just another progressive — you will note that they do not call themselves Liberals anymore. I wonder why? Is the word “Liberal” too tainted by defeat or too moderate? Or is it that the left pretty much agreed with me when I titled my obituary to Liberalism The Death of Liberalism in 2011?

Actually, that Hodgkinson is pretty much a standard-issue progressive ought to give everyone the creeps. His politics are no different than those of a local librarian or a schoolteacher or a union guy back in 2014 when it was so fashionable to be a member of the “Angry Left.” Of course in 2011 there were the Occupiers, and now in 2017 there is the Black Lives Matter movement. What separates Hodgkinson from Bill Ayers, the bomber of the Pentagon, except that Ayers tried to kill more people? The left has been on a steady evolution toward homicide like what Hodgkinson undertook last week for years, and there are a lot more Hodgkinsons out there than we care to contemplate.

Truth be known the American left, and that includes most of the MSM, has become quite morbid in its fascinations. The whole way it talks about poverty, the environment, immigration, race — practically any social problem — is morbid. I look at the New York Times and the Washington Post every morning. They sit there on my breakfast table. Rarely does their front page not feature what the political philosopher Kenneth Minogue called a “suffering situation”: several starving Africans, a corpse or two from some hellhole, an impoverished Appalachian family with at least one child, his head shaved because of cancer or some other horrible malady, a gay couple that has suffered a setback. I could go on, but you get my point. The MSM is obsessed with misery, social strife, and — dare I say it — political correctness.

As long as these values dominate, and there is no mitigating alternative, the public had best be armed.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
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R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: The Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn’t Work: Social Democracy’s Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery. He makes frequent appearances on national television and is a nationally syndicated columnist, whose articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, National Review, Harper’s, Commentary, The (London) Spectator, Le Figaro (Paris), and elsewhere. He is also a contributing editor to the New York Sun.
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