The American Loyalist spirit lives on in the Left.
It might seem counterintuitive to assert that the spirit of 18th-century American Loyalists lives on in the Left, given that they were the conservatives of their era, loyal to tradition, proponents of gradualism, fearful of mob rule, protective of property, and heavily represented in the upper crust. But things change.
What we have now is somewhat similar to the largely unremarked problem of the two Koreas. Before the north-south division at the 38th parallel, the undivided country was split politically. Whereas every vestige of the Right now has been vaporized in the North, the Left remains in the South, which partially explains the posture of the current Korean administration. We, too, suffer a hidden division, the persistence of Toryism into the present day, detectible in the Left’s preferences and ideology. Whether this is a continuation, imitation, or coincidence is immaterial to what it illuminates.
Like American Tories, the Left looks east—if not to England, then variously to the imagined socialism of Scandinavia; to any country sharply critical of American interests; the Soviet Union during its entire existence; Italy when Mussolini made the trains run on time; Germany during the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; and France when it raises its hackles whenever the U.S., like France itself, intervenes abroad. In my time at Oxford I discovered that seemingly half
Get your free calendar or renew your subscription to the Claremont Review of Books and receive a free 2021 calendar featuring the drawings of CRB Art Director Elliott Banfield.