NRO and Hanson identify conservatism with the French Revolution

In the opening paragraph of an article at NRO on the CBS imbroglio, Victor Hanson compares Dan Rather to an arrogant French aristocrat being taken to the place of execution:

Dan Rather’s initial, furious street-side defense of an amateurish forgery—smug, huffy, self-righteous—brings to mind one of those bad movies about the Paris barricades, especially the grainy, black-and-white shots of powdered and wigged aristocrats on their way to the Guillotine, yelling out of their carriages at pitchfork-carrying peasants.

So, in Hanson’s clunky metaphor, the leftist liars at CBS are the aristocratic victims of the Jacobin Terror, and the American public who have had it with CBS’s leftist lies are revolutionary bloodthirsty mobs out to kill the upper classes. It would be hard to think of a less appropriate way to describe the exposure and discrediting of the leftist media, but for Hanson and his editors, it seems to come naturally.

The appalling tone-deafness of the younger generations of neocons to correct historical and political meaning has often been noted, and it is not accidental. It is a direct result of the fact that they are abstracted and alienated from America and the West as historic civilizations. For these mini-cons or metro-cons or whatever you want to call them, as for the liberals they increasingly resemble, the past with all its works and hierarchies of value is something to be shunned. What they celebrate is the revolutionary overturning of the past in the name of abstract universalist ideas.

It used to be understood at National Review that opposition to the French Revolution is one of the defining marks of a conservative. The boys at today’s National Review see the French Revolution as a source of inspiring imagery.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 24, 2004 09:12 AM | Send

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