The light of the left, having been starved for the fuel of any new ideas for more than sixty years, has burned itself out to the point where all that remains is a dying ember. The reaction of "progressives" at the loss of illumination is often expressed in a dark rage, as Clarice Feldman illustrates:
Twice in recent years pleasant social events have been shattered by rage-filled outbursts when liberal men of a certain age learned that I disagreed with their views. In each case the rage with which perfectly polite disagreement was expressed suggested to me that more than political differences were involved. As time has passed, I have come to believe that the reactions I received represented a rage at the dying of all that which these men had embraced in the absolute certainty of the righteousness and soundness of their views, and their right to have them automatically accepted as the approved model for all right thinking people.On the other side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, the great socialist experiment has been proven a failure. As Europeans begin to pick up the pieces of a society shattered by socialism, many are finding inspiration and light in the grassfire that is the American TEA Party movement. All the bitter clingers who refuse to see the light and loosen their grip on the failed Fabian philosophy can do is rage at the darkness in the caves of their self-confinement.
In the first instance, some years ago, I was a guest at the lovely Maine lakeside lodge of a relative of a college roommate. At the conclusion of a perfectly pleasant dinner in which the conversation was not at all political, my host asked quite unexpectedly what I thought of (then) president George W. Bush. I said I loved him. (And I do. I think that he is a decent gentlemen who tried in every way to perform his responsibilities honestly, no small matter in such a thoroughly base age in which he was unremittingly slanderously vilified.)
My host rose red-faced from his seat, and smashed his fist on the table, shouting, "How could you be so close minded?" As I recall, I could only laugh at the absurdity of his response. His wife , a proper hostess, tried to smooth it over, but I had seen first hand the tyrannical face behind the mask of a liberal urbanite. I had not raised the matter. I had merely answered honestly and succinctly his question in a way he found intolerable simply because my short reply so challenged his own views that all decent, educated people shared his opinion. Hold a different opinion and you are by definition "close minded."
This scenario with slight differences, occurred more recently this year, when a fellow dinner guest, a professor of public policy at a major university who had just completed a federal appointment by Obama, asked me what I thought of Sarah Palin ( whom I said I liked) and anthropogenic global warming (about which I indicated extreme skepticism), he, like my Maine host, exploded in a fury. " I can't believe a nice, educated Jewish woman like you would hold such views," he said. "I suppose you don't believe in natural selection either," he sneered.
In fact, the tea party, Sarah Palin, and all of us who eschew bigger government and demand accountability and self-determination are beginning to expand our reach. We are, as reporters in England and Australia note with regard to the debt limit negotiations, showing up worldwide socialism as a foolish and bankrupt notion.
Related: A capitalist economy cannot support an ever-expanding socialist welfare state