Saturday morning, the graying leftists and their children walked the misty streets of Ann Arbor. Through the sleeping streets of downtown, the beating of drums and sound of chants trickled into the air. In lockstep, the anti-war movement descended upon Ann Arbor – and once again the spirit of ’68 was alive in our Midwestern hamlet.
I sat in the back of the Diag, watching the surreal morning pass by. Crowds of freshman in maize and blue walked from the Hill through the Diag and toward Michigan Stadium as the collective force of Southeast Michigan’s liberal community milled about aimlessly.
It was genuinely sad to see the beginning of our parents’ generation last gasp on the political stage. Sadder still, was the realization, becoming clearer every day, that the Left as it is presently constituted is going to expire shortly. The activist Left is trapped and stammering, like a confused animal uncertain of its future and clinging to its mythical past. The few students who shook off their hangovers and actually made it to the rally are stuck in another age.
Under the banners of inclusivity and consensus, the Left has paralyzed itself and prevented itself from criticizing the weak ideas that have attached themselves to the contemporary Left. There are two events that I witnessed on Saturday morning that can help explain how the Left is working to destroy itself.
One of the last speakers in the Diag cited Immanuel Kant and Woodrow Wilson in his arguments against war in Iraq. These men should be the liberal icons of our era, but they are rarely invoked.
Earlier in the rally, James Justin Wilson, editor in chief of the Michigan Review, got himself into a brusque t