Apparently, it takes the declaration of a culture war for most human beings to acknowledge how dreadfully sad liberalism truly is.
Not classical liberalism, of course. The political philosophy guiding America’s founding fathers espouses an incredibly positive attitude built on, above all things, faith in the success of the individual against all odds. The liberalism I am referring to is the darker ethos that currently masquerades as Liberal, despite the fact that it is anything but. One need look no further for proof of this truth than Adam Kirsch’s response to Adam Bellow‘s call for a counterculture conservative establishment via Liberty Island.
…why does Adam Bellow continue to believe that conservative writers are a persecuted minority? The reason may have something to do with the description of the kind of work he seeks at his Liberty Island website: “At Liberty Island, good still triumphs over evil, hope still overcomes despair, and America is still a noble experiment and a beacon to the rest of the world.” The problem is not that these are conservative ideas, but that they are simpleminded ideological dogmas, and so by their very nature hostile to literature, which lives or dies by its sense of reality. If you are not allowed to say that life in America can be bad, that Americans can be guilty as well as innocent, that good sometimes (most of the time?) loses out to evil—in short, that life in America is like human life in any other time or place—then you cannot be a literary writer, because you have censored your impressions of reality in advance.
In this one paragraph Kirsch clearly defines the Liberal view of reality. According to Kirsch, Liberals view America as a “bad” place where good is defeated ”most of the time” by evil. Bellow’s desire to publish positive, hopeful literature illustrates his biased impression of reality, an implied trait among conservatives. According to Kirsch, Bellow is both deficient and needy: “…he wants reassurance, the certainty that reality—of which literature is the perceiver and guardian—is always on the side of his political beliefs.” He accuses Bellow of seeking succor through “Tea Party”-esque revenge tactics.
These accusations stand in stark contradiction to Kirsch’s conclusion in which he blatantly accepts the fact that Liberals have abused the arts, turning what used to be pleasurable cultural outlets into forums for intense, almost religious levels of political brainwashing. According to Kirsch, true writers understand that politics “must be corrected by literature” and not vice-versa. Hence, so many writers are Liberals. Liberals who busy themselves using their screeds to “correct” the political landscape. Thus, is his own grand conclusion he ends up convicting Liberals for Bellow’s supposed crimes.
In creating Liberty Island, Adam Bellow did one better than scare the Liberal literary establishment: He annoyed them. In his conservative counterculture manifesto Bellow named the sins that have turned the world of American fiction into nothing more than a finely written dystopia. It is what Bellow proposes, marketing hope to the hopeless, that is the greatest cause for alarm. Kirsch and his ilk can attempt to disinform the public by accusing conservative writers of being “out of touch” with reality. This has and will only continue to act as a public airing of their own hopeless despair. When challenged with a positive alternative, Liberal literati will ultimately fail, because in a world rife with rockets and bomb shelters, riots and dictators, wars and rumors of wars, there is nothing the public craves more than a future and a hope.