A meme-worthy moment from George Will yesterday on Fox News Sunday, as spotted by Jeffrey Meyer of Newsbusters:
CHRIS WALLACE: We asked you for questions from the panel, for the panel, rather. And we got this on Twitter from Michael Daigeaun. Why is it that if you oppose their position and you’re white, you’re branded a racist? Both Attorney General Holder and POTUS race bait. George is that what’s going on here?
GEORGE WILL: Sure. Look, liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s Syndrome these days. It’s just constantly saying the word racism and racist. It’s an old saying in the law; if you have the law on your side, argue the law. If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you have neither, pound the table. This is pounding the table. There’s a kind of intellectual poverty now. Liberalism hasn’t had a new idea since the 1960s except ObamaCare and the country doesn’t like it. Foreign policy is a shambles from Russia to Iran to Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And the recovery is unprecedentedly bad. So what do you do? You say anyone criticizes us is a racist. It’s become a joke among young people. You go to a campus where this kind of political correctness reigns and some young person will say looks like it’s going to rain. The person looks and says, you’re a racist. I mean it’s so inappropriate. The constant implication of this is that I think it is becoming a national mirth.
It’s entirely possible to invert Lionel Trilling’s famous 1950 dismissal of conservatism in its exhausted pre-William F. Buckley form to describe the current dissipated state of the left, circa 2014: the leftwing impulse and the progressive impulse do not, with some isolated and some ecclesiastical exceptions, express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.
But Will’s noting that “liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s Syndrome these days” is a marvelous shorthand way of saying the same thing. I hope it catches on as a rejoinder, wherever leftwing Tourette’s Syndrome flares up next.