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Liberal Unpolitics on Stage and Screen
Gesture Without Content

- Abstract

We live now in an era which is characterized by the absence of great divisive political issues at home. On the one big issue of the moment—desegregation—the liberals have been joined by the right wing, or what used to be the right wing: of the four candidates for national office in 1956, only one—Vice President Nixon, the man reputedly most conservative—was able to claim membership in the NAACP. With support like that, it is hard to make of desegregation an occasion for embattled liberal passion. Indeed, it has become impossible for a liberal to feel himself isolated in a virtuous minority of right-thinking people, for who is not a liberal now? President Eisenhower is a liberal (as well as a moderate conservative), the late Senator Taft was a liberal, the liberalism of President McKinley has recently been uncovered, and Alexander Hamilton is now becoming Jefferson’s chief rival as co-founder of American liberalism.

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