In 1984 George Orwell's O'Brien declared, "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face--forever." That's the way I felt when I heard the participants in the Anita Hill lovefest, "Sex, Power, and Speaking Truth." His narrow confirmation to the Court allowed him to revive American constitutionalism. We must ever keep in mind this victory in our cultural wars.
Meanwhile, further south in Manhattan, the OWS mobs continue to flourish. Comparing them to the Tea Party misses the heart of these true descendants of the American Founding: They stand for the restraints, protections, and procedures of constitutional government.
Liberalism has been unable to decide whether it is for or against more democracy for nearly a century now, ever since it underwent a radical transformation from a creed believing that advancing the cause of individual liberty meant limiting government power and protecting individual rights into the creed we know today of believing that larger and more powerful government is the primary means of securing the realization of individual liberty. None of the liberal complaints about "gridlock" are new; Progressives like Woodrow Wilson deplored the separation of powers and other limiting features of the Founding as obsolete years before he tried to ignore them as president.
Odd, how life works. I was in a happy state that Harry Jaffa would celebrate his 93rd birthday on the 7th, and on that day I heard that Harold W. Rood died the day before. He was my second teacher in Claremont; not as old as Jaffa, about my mother's age. He taught international relations, national security affairs, and had been at CMC since about 1962. I'll let someone else tell the historical details--how dozens of "political philosophy" students ended up studying with this untheoretical man, of his many virtues, of this man's good life--I just wanted to say something about his one great virtue.
This entirely American man--loving and kind and sweet--was a great teacher. He was a great teacher unlike Jaffa. Rood didn't test the logos in the same way, he didn't simply grab the truth as it revealed itself in front of him. Rather, he talked and the story came out about how men wanted to live rather than die, and what they may then do, and why that is always so. He was able to portray things outside of our experience in such a way that we could see the shining stars above to be the same as the shining campfires in the soldiers' tents below. Rood was a great poet. He was able to talk about anger or love in such a way that showed us what it was like to be in anger and to be in love. He did the same with his love of country. He seduced us this way into thinking, and we loved it and we loved him for it. No one will ever forget the experience of being with him in a classroom. May he Rest in Peace.
Update: Over at Power Line, Steve Hayward, another Rood student, writes a fine post on the good professor.