Perhaps the best case study in leftism run amuck is England, which in two generations has gone from Churchill and churches to hate-speech laws and halal ritual. For example, in recent times the U.K. has treated us to stories about a school guide stating that toddlers who say “yuck” in response to foreign food may have bigoted tendencies, about a 66-year-old pet shop owner and grandmother forced to wear an electronic tracking bracelet because she sold a goldfish to a 14-year-old, and a police officer who was harassed because he wouldn’t don a pink ribbon to mark a homosexual event.
“The Death of Liberal Arts” lamented a headline in an April 5 Newsweek.com article that carried the subhead: “How the recession and unemployment are making schools and students rethink the value of an education in the humanities.”
Who was the “brilliant child of the wind and waves” who fired the inaugural volley at the Royal Navy’s pride by being the first to engage and capture an armed British warship, the Edward, during our War for Independence? Not sure? Here are a few hints: It was the same captain who fought the last naval skirmish of that long and bitter struggle for freedom, who held the record for the fastest American warship during the Revolution, and who was instrumental in the establishment of a permanent, separate American Navy.
After getting in my car the other night, this writer turned on a radio show hosted by a man renowned as a rare moderate in talk radio, although he’s most notable for only moderately deep thinking. He was talking about the Catholic Church sex scandal, and he fielded a caller proposing a unique solution: allow priests to have concubines. This prompted the host to chime in and opine that perhaps the discipline of celibacy should be revisited. After all, said he, it’s only the Catholic Church that has “these problems.” It’s the kind of shallow analysis that passes for social commentary today.
One of the 19th century’s most famous poets, Lord Byron, compressed into two lines of immortal verse an essential truth about how self-respecting men and women need to live: “Know yet not? / Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.” José Rizal, hero of Filipino independence, made the same point still more graphically: “There are no tyrants where there are no slaves.” Similar sentiments can be found in the literature of other lands. A Romanian proverb runs: “Whether one dies young or old, death is always the same. But it is not at all the same whether one dies like a lion or dies like a dog.”