Times columnist: “liberalism may be running out of time”

Part of the reason for liberals’ current rage at Obama, writes Ross Douthat in the New York Times, is that he is disappointing their illusory liberal beliefs in the omnipotence of executive power and the workability of utopian liberal theories. But part of the rage, Douthat continues, is due to a genuine liberal fear:

… it’s here, with the looming fiscal crisis, that the more legitimate liberal fear comes in. Liberals had hoped that Obama’s election marked the beginning of a long progressive era—a new New Deal, a greater Great Society. Instead, from the West Coast to Western Europe, the welfare state is in crisis everywhere they look. The future suddenly seems to belong to austerity and retrenchment—and even, perhaps, to conservatism.

In this environment, the rage against Obama for not doing more, now, faster, becomes at least somewhat understandable. It’s not that he hasn’t done a great deal for liberals during his 18 months in office. It’s that liberalism itself may be running out of time.

Or, as Gen. Grant said to a fearful subordinate in the middle of a battle, we should not be thinking about what the enemy can do to us, but about what we can do to the enemy.

The thoughts of suicide entertained by some discouraged Western patriots are premature.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 22, 2010 01:10 PM | Send

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