Too many kooks
A REVIEW OF A RECENT NOVEL OF YOURS SUGGESTED THAT ONE OF YOUR CALLINGS HAS BEEN TO WINNOW THE KOOKINESS OUT OF RIGHT-WING POLITICS. ARE THERE KOOKS STILL IN NEED OF WINNOWING?Based on my support for universal healthcare, regulation for safety and environmental reasons and, above all, the prosperity of poor people in developing countries, you'd think I could safely call myself left-liberal. But apparently that's not good enough for those for whom the left-liberal shibboleth is adoption of a quasi-Marxist worldview and, if you're American, or more recently, Jewish, self-hatred.
There are always kooks. The question becomes, Is their strength damaging to the vital and healthy organs of a political movement? The communists took over the American Labor Party. The Birchers did not take over the Republican Party.
Mr. Buckley was crusading to "winnow the kooks" out of the American right at the same time the American left was giving its kooks free reign. That modern conservatism began its ascendancy in the United States at the same time is no coincidence. Nor is the fact that the American left's greatest successes since took place under a President willing to stand up to the left's kooks.
I was one of those who had hoped that Clinton's Sister Souljah moment marked a turning point for the American left. But William F. Buckley is right. There are always kooks. And our winnowing of them must be constant and vigilant.
The American left must winnow out its kooks. The American left needs its own William F. Buckley.