A flag. A monument. A bathroom, for women. These are the symbols of America. This nation of ours, founded by Reagan, celebrated by Peggy Noonan, a scrap of old silk draped atop a bottle of laudanum. My friends: Peggy has come to warn us. There will be blood.
The blood of pronouns soaketh the field of battle today—a field, of ideas, in America, a land also composed of ideas, found atop shining hills, probably in Illinois. Using her foolproof cultural antennae, Peggy Noonan has detected a disturbance in the placid comity that defined This Nation in the Reagan era. Today, Peggy has sniffed out a parallel to another, more dangerous time. She recalls the horrors of the French Revolution:
The revolution had everything—a ruling class that was clumsy, decadent, inert; a pathetic king, a queen beyond her depth, costly wars, monstrous debt, an impervious and unreformable administrative state, a hungry populace. The task of the monarchy was to protect the poor, but the king had “abdicated this protective role.” Instead of ensuring grain supplies at a reasonable price, Mr. Schama notes, the government committed itself to the new modern principle of free trade: “British textiles had been let into France, robbing Norman and Flemish spinners and weavers of work.” They experienced it as “some sort of conspiracy against the People.”
One does see parallels. But they’re not what I mean.
Wait, wait. Don’t tell me. Let me guess. If we are discussing “The Parallels Between the Time of the French Revolution and Modern Day America,” would it be—the bad ruling class, the pathetic king, the grotesque inequality, the capture of the state by the rich? That stuff? The class warfare by the rich that precipitated the catastrophe that was to come? Is it?
Let’s see.... ah, no. That’s not it. Peggy says it’s the “politicized” “new names for things.”
So here is our parallel, our hiccup. I thought of all this this week because I’ve been thinking about the language and behavioral directives that have been coming at us from the social and sexual justice warriors who are renaming things and attempting to control the language in America.
Totally. When you say “Parallels between the grossly unequal America of today, with its dangerous lunatic leader and roiling social unrest, and the time of the French Revolution,” I answer immediately: The way people have new pronouns and stuff. There’s your parallel
.I see in it a spirit similar to that of the Terror. There is a tone of, “I am your moral teacher. Because you are incapable of sensitivity, I will help you, dumb farmer. I will start with the language you speak.”
Yes. The primary victim of the modern American class war in which the rich have hoarded a staggering portion of the nation’s wealth is former Reagan administration official Peggy Noonan, who was asked at some point to address someone as “they.” Are the guillotines next?
In the meantime please direct the Wall Street Journal’s interns to send a bottle of Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Opium Syrup and a VHS copy of “Bedtime For Bonzo” to Peggy’s dressing-room immediately. What time is left—we must savor.