- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2004

In his essay on “The Future of Liberalism,” (1882) Matthew Arnold wrote: “If experience has established any one thing in this world it has established this: that it is well for any great class and description of men in society to be able to say for itself what it wants and not to have other classes, the so-called educated and intelligent classes, acting for it as proctors, and supposed to understand its wants and provide for them.”

Our November presidential election demonstrated the validity of Arnold’s pronouncement. For clearly the majority of American voters repudiated the claim of their would-be proctors — the academic and media elites, Hollywood’s semiskilled intellectuals, George Soros’ payroll parasites, Dan Rather and CBS — that they and only they had the keys to paradise so please be good enough to vote as we tell you.

Little realized, even by Bush supporters, is that the majority of American voters have, it would seem, moved permanently into the Republican column because they accept as their own the moral and social values in President Bush’s sociopolitical philosophy.

How else account for an astounding fact in American political history: the major power bases in our politics — White House, Supreme Court, Senate, House of Representatives, governors and state legislatures — are Republican-held, either by appointment or election?

There seems to be general agreement the Democratic Party leadership and rank and file are particularly embittered. They are embittered with their dismal electoral fate over the decades and full of bile and spleen about the continued successes of Republican candidates.

This bitterness can easily be explained. Few people realize how deep is the Republican hold on electoral and appointive posts or for how long the Republican Party has been in power in Washington and in the 50 states. For generations, the Democratic Party regarded itself as the only legitimate sovereign over America’s destiny. There might be occasional lapses — Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush (41), George W. Bush (43) — but the electorate would surely return to its Democratic senses.

I am not about to be an adviser to the Democratic Party leaders, but it is not good for our country to have a large sector of our voting population estranged from the political process of majority rule and wallowing in self-pity and a masochistic martyrdom.

American voters have shown where they stand in their presidential vote: They stand for social values their proctors abominate. These proctors remind me of the British Labor Party that preferred to lose election after election to Margaret Thatcher rather than give up any of their deplorable platforms. These sneering proctors also remind me of how they once jeered at Ronald Reagan (“amiable dunce” was their favorite epithet). It did them no good. All their scorn did was elect and re-elect Mr. Reagan as it has just re-elected George Bush.

I hope the candidates for the 2008 election and their supporters take to heart the lesson of this election and avoid a proctorial role. To quote Matthew Arnold once more:

“A class may often itself not either fully understand its wants or adequately express them; but it has a nearer interest and a more sure diligence in the matter than any of its proctors, and therefore a better chance of success.”

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times. His updated biography “Herman Wouk, the Novelist as Social Historian,” has just been published.

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