The Shame of U.S. Liberalism

The Shame of U.S. Liberalism

. . . Never before had the fact of being an American brought one so close to humiliation. The sight of Washington in August was enough to make one cringe, so enormous was the upsurge of elemental stupidity and reasonless passion; the spectacle of Congress venting an impotent legislative fury upon the Enemy seemed a nightmare, an insanity of force. Never before had he felt that the remaining decencies and verities, which had trickled down from an almost legendary American past, seemed so perilously close to extinction.

He had seldom been an admirer of the American political species. He had seldom felt anything but a slight shudder, trained into invisibility, before the average Congressman—and, as he sometimes asked himself with a wry impatience, what other kind of Congressman was there? But the behavior of the Senate during those last lunatic weeks of August, when all petty factions melted into one insensate mass of fear and ignorance, struck him as beyond belief. Even he, who had resigned himself to being an observer, which meant a little to the stance of being a skeptic, found himself rubbing his eyes at this Congressional stampede to prove that each party was as ready as the other to trample the concept of liberty in the name of destroying its Enemy.

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Duggan | University of California Press Gardels