TYRRELL: Delousing of a movement

Liberalism joins Occupiers on ideological ash heap

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As the tents were coming down at McPherson Square, the dead rats and mice being retrieved, the urine and feces and filthy bedding disposed of by D.C. employees dressed in hazardous-materials suits like their contemporaries at Fukushima, Japan, I thought of the left-wing press. You see, I read the left-wing press. Not the urban throwaway rags, but I read the Nation, the Progressive, the American Prospect and more - I read them all. They have been raving for months about the exciting prospect of a great wave of reform coming out of the Occupiers’ movement. It was here to stay, and for a while, silly old me took them seriously.

Not the “Masterbate for Peace” movement, which made its rude appearance in Madison, Wis., nor the “Urinate and Defecate Against World Hunger” crowd, who occasionally made headlines in Manhattan. Rather, I mean the-out-of-work Ph.D.s in romance languages or the mild-mannered, middle-class schoolteachers whom the left-wing press kept coming across amid the delusional rabble. The left-wing journalists interviewed them. To read their reports, one would think that this Occupy movement really was sweeping America rather than standing on its last legs and being shut down. Its end was coming for very good reasons, I might add. The Occupy movement was a health hazard, occasionally a serious crime scene - rape, robbery and mayhem - and in most places throughout the country, it was in contravention of simple laws against vagrancy.

Illustrious names from journalism’s past - even the New York Review of Books - were showing themselves to be utterly out of touch with the way things are in America today, with budgets so out of balance and economic growth so slight. Even President Obama and other eminentoes from the Democratic Party sided with the Occupiers long after the Occupiers had discredited themselves. Now, for the most part, the Occupiers are no more. Yet the left-wing press raves on, and I suppose the mainstream media are complicit. This movement was more degenerate than they reported.

In the Progressive, someone by the name of Naomi Klein attests, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Every day, new occupations are growing, not just in this country. People are so excited to have a new tent in which to meet, and the possibility of it expanding limitlessly. Political courage is so contagious.” So, apparently, is hysteria.

Some of it was very funny. Did former Sen. George McGovern make an appearance at Zuccotti Park? The New York Review of Books reports, “A bedraggled man who had arrived that day from Hawaii announced his candidacy for president and asked for the movement’s blessing.” I did not know George was in Hawaii. Yet some of it demonstrated just how dismissive of the truth the American left really is. There was this from the Nation in January: “The Occupation encampments that enlivened approximately 1,400 cities this fall provided a vivid template for the 99 percent’s growing sense of unity. Here were thousands of people - we may never know the exact numbers - from all walks of life, living outdoors in the streets and parks. … The 99 percent, which might have seemed to be a purely aspirational category just a few month ago, began to will itself into existence.”

Ninety-nine percent? Does that include me? Does it include the 40 percent of the country that usually polls conservative and the almost equally large percentage that polls independent? Who is deluding whom, and remember the entire left-wing press bought into this garbagespiel, most probably along with much of the major media.

I have been saying for some time that liberalism is dead. I shall even be coming out with a book on the subject in a couple of months. That the hitherto respectable magazines of the left would push such nonsense is to be included in my diagnosis. There was a day when the liberals would argue according to some standards of objectivity. They would not push a line that was absolute flapdoodle. Yet liberalism is dead. The Occupation hysteria adopted by every single journal on the left is but another proof of it. Those who read the left-wing press ought to demand their money back. They could have been killed at McPherson Square or Zuccotti Park or at least have been robbed or raped.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His most recent book is “After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery” (Thomas Nelson, 2010).

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