Everything Marc writes is worth reading but I found his recent essay about George Orwell’s criticism of the British left during WW II and the early Cold War fascinating because it so effortlessly caused my many dislikes of and doubts about our modern Americal liberals to coalesce into comprehension.
Particularly to the point of today’s troubles with so many American Democrats is this snippet:
This disengagement from the common culture emerged in the 1920s and was a reflection of the intelligentsia’s education:
In the last twenty years western civilisation has given the intellectual security without responsibility, and in England, in particular, it has educated him in skepticism while anchoring him almost immovably in the privileged class. He has been in the position of a young man living on an allowance from a father he hates. The result is a deep feeling of guilt and resentment, not combined with any genuine desire to escape.
Having disengaged itself from the common culture, the intelligentsia, during a time of war, disparaged patriotism and the worth of venerable English institutions. Its members formed “a sort of island of dissident thought”:
England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution . . . the negative, fainéant outlook which has been fashionable among English left-wingers, the sniggering of the intellectuals at patriotism and physical courage, the persistent effort to chip away English morale and spread a hedonistic, what-do-I-get-out-of-it attitude to life, has done nothing but harm . . .
English intellectuals, especially the younger ones, “are markedly hostile to their own country.” In some circles, “to express pro-British sentiments needs considerable moral courage.” The people who should be “the guardians of freedom of thought” were anything but.
(Note that Marc’s are the outer quotations while Orwell’s are the inner.)
These paragraphs are telling about American liberals, the lot of whom I’ve bashed about in recent posts without quite being able to pin down the exact reasons why their actions were so inappropriate.
Marc’s post makes those reasons perfectly clear by channeling Orwell who, I believe, if he were still alive and writing, would quickly identify American liberals as Islamist apologists and collaborators.