Magazine article Insight on the News

Today's Liberals Put Liberty League to Shame

Magazine article Insight on the News

Today's Liberals Put Liberty League to Shame

Article excerpt

Byline: Ralph de Toledano, INSIGHT

Back in the early 1930s a group of tycoons, mostly members of New York's Union League Club, formed an organization called the Liberty League. Vehemently against the New Deal, it raised loud cries against President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his policies and his Brain Trust. FDR, it anguished, was "a traitor to his class" and a whited sepulcher. His program, they averred with some accuracy, had been lifted in toto from Socialist Party candidate Norman Thomas, though it was shy about noting that the National Recovery Act was based on the "corporativism" of Benito Mussolini.

The Liberty League was laughed out of existence by New Yorker cartoonists, who depicted its members looking out over Fifth Avenue and snorting that doomsday was here and Josef Stalin lurked in the bushes. The New York Times and much of the media turned their heavy artillery on the white-haired leaders of the League, as if they represented a fascist "wave of the future" and were proof positive of the reactionary nature of the opposition to FDR and the Democrats.

Well, as they used to say, time marches on. The Liberty League could have held its meetings in a phone booth, and the Republican Party, outgunned and outvoted, did little more than jettison its so-called isolationism and, the war over, gave the Democrats enough votes to torpedo its racist Southern wing and enact civil-rights legislation for which it got no credit.

Turn now to 2003. The Democrats, who under President Bill Clinton clamored for war against Iraq and pointed quiveringly to its weapons of mass destruction, have put the Liberty League to shame with their frothing hysteria against the Bush administration, in cries of hatred never before heard in this country. The New Republic, which for a while supported the war on terrorism and an onslaught against Saddam Hussein as a means of supporting Israel, bedecked President George W. Bush in sackcloth and ashes. The New York Times reverted to the days when it was glorying in Stalin and Adolf Hitler and discovered evil incarnate in the Bush White House.

There is little point now in rebutting the sound and fury or the propaganda of the "liberal" read, left reactionary media and the Democrats. They are now back in the days when Dan Rather, in his cowboy boots, made himself a national reputation by grossly insulting on TV a president of the United States. But I am constrained to respond to a mailing piece by the New York Review of Books, a neo-Marxist/neo-Freudian publication which years ago brought grins to the music world by subjecting Beethoven to Hegelian analysis. …

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