Sunday, April 05, 2015

Moynihan Vanquished: The Triumph of Radicalism

Here's an essay worth reading, based on three short books about Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

A pull-quote which reverberates today:

...Moynihan’s older liberalism identified deeply with America even as it acknowledged its failings. It respected facts and evidence. But the new liberalism, the radicalism of the late sixties that captivated educated elites, was shot through with an irrational anti-Americanism. “Radical politics,” explained Michael Novak at the time, “is so much the province of the affluent . . . that it fairly reeks of class bias,” a bias against “middle America.” Moynihan feared that “a society suffused with the alienation of its elites” would be “a society that courts—if not totalitarianism, at least statism.” He saw “totalitarian seeds in the new politics of who thinks what, and who feels how.” Moynihan understood that anti-Americanism was a useful lever for liberal elites who insisted that their inclinations be propitiated lest they undermine American society from within....

As the essayist sees it, Moynihan was a modern-day Burke.

Well.  Nothing has changed; if anything, it's worse.  Sic transit....

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