… is from Joseph Epstein’s February 2017 essay in Commentary, “Hope I Die Before I Get Young: The sixties, forever with us “:
If the sixties killed liberalism, it also did a pretty good job on adulthood. Most men and women who went through the sixties even now find it difficult to oppose any doctrine or behavior that is leftist in its origins or inspirations, for to do so would be to betray their youth. Among his many wise political apothegms, Orwell wrote that liberals fear few things more than being outflanked on the left. In the 1930s, this fear brought many liberals into the Communist Party, put them on the side of the Stalinists in Spain, caused them to overlook the monstrousness of Lenin and sanitize the cruelty of Trotsky, and turned the Democratic Party over to identity politics. History has never been an effective teacher, and so 30 and more years later, liberals, out of fear of being outflanked once again, everywhere gave way to radicals, so that dogmatic academic feminism, victimological African-American Studies, and the rest found a secure place in the first watering and then dumbing down and thorough politicizing of university study that eventually seeped through the general culture.
DBx: Note the irony of the photo above. Mindless radicalism has turned to devour itself: In 2020 it’s de rigueur to oppose free speech and to accuse those of us who support it of being apologists for the rich, powerful, and privileged.