It is springtime, and just as Emily Dickinson poetized years ago there is indeed a little madness in the air. The left-wing brethren have roused themselves from their slumbers and taken to the streets and parks, placards waving, petitions in hand.
They wish to bring to our attention matters of the gravest exigency, questions of hunger at home and imminent nuclear holocaust.
These are, of course, matters of the gravest concern to us all, but why no demonstrations in February? Is nuclear war less of a threat during inclement weather? Are hunger and unemployment less uncomfortable in winter than in spring?
There is a great deception underlying the Springtime Saturnalia, and it is deception of a very amateurish sort. Consider the claims that Ground Zero Week was nonpolitical, bipartisan, an exercise in awareness, never an attempt to propound a solution, only an attempt to discover solutions--picklewash. How does one discover solutions at a "Run for Your Life" or a "bicycle fallout marathon" or that historic "Swim for Peace" featuring Andre the idealistic seal from Provincetown, Mass.?
Any American above the age of 6 not aware of the horror of nuclear war would have to be a congenital simpleton, and though our recent round of Ground Zero activities did seem to be designed for simpletons, my guess is that the organizers had something else in mind, namely: politics, and not bipartisan politics.
With the possible exception of James J. Kilpatrick, I can think of no major conservative voice that sided with the Ground Zero Saturnalia. Even a lot of American liberals remained aloof. Claiming that the season's disarmament extravaganzas are nonpolitical is so obviously untrue as to be a deception borne of desperation.
Not political? Reporting on the activities of Roger Molander, Ground Zero's nonpolitical founder, The Washington Post records: "Earlier, at a special sermon at Washington Cathedral, Molander outlined a long-term strategy for Ground Zero, in which the movement would work to elect congressmen this fall and a president in 1984 based on candidates' positions on the nuclear issue."
"Then, starting in 1985," The Post quotes Molander as saying, "we can come forward as a nation with a clear position (on disarmament), and deal with the Soviet Union."
The deception grows more puerile. The United States does have "a clear position" on disarmament, and it is indeed "dealing" with the Soviet Union. It is merely that the position is not Molander's position. The Reagan policy calls for significant reductions in nuclear arms and proposes that the United States will not deploy intermediate-range missiles in Europe if the Soviets will eliminate theirs.
Molander and his kind are simply refusing to engage the issue of nuclear disarmament. They do not want to face up to Soviet truculence, the Soviet arms buildup of the 1970s, and the grave difficulties of negotiating disarmament with the Russian police state.
Nuclear war is not an issue in the United States. There are no two sides to it. We all are against it, know how horrible it would be, and want peace.
The same holds true for hunger and unemployment. These are not issues in America. No one I know favors hunger or unemployment. It is untrue and irrelevant to say as the Rev. Bill Moyers said in his fanciful documentary, "People Like Us," that Ronald Reagan has "chosen not to offend the rich, the powerful, and the organized." Bill Moyers is all of these, and it is very apparent that Ronald Reagan has offended Bill grievously.
The real issue is not do we want people hungry and unemployed, but how do we keep the country prosperous. Ronald Reagan opts for lower taxes, less government and more private-sector economic activity. The left opts for more taxes and more government.
Surely the more intelligent of the left-wing brethren must know that the issue between them and Ronald Reagan is not two conflicting views of hunger but rather two conflicting views about how to avoid hunger.
Why does the left-winger not take up this issue? Possibly because he knows that to do so would confront him with the truth, which is that years of adherence to his economic principles left us with high unemployment, not all that much lower than the present unemployment; double-digit inflation, which pains us all, but the poor most especially; double-digit interesst rates and low productivity growth, which paralyzes economic activity and denies the poor all hope of a better future; and decreasing personal liberty.
What has brought on the desperate deceptions of this spring is that those on the left have no case to argue. Experience weighs too heavily against them. So they moralize. They congratulate themselves on their superior virtue. They greet each other in the balmy way Roger Molander greeted his Ground Zero Week audience in Washington's Lafayette Park: "Welcome to the finest and noblest cause that mankind has ever known." He said it without winking, and his audience listened without blushing.