For feminists and gun-grabbers, an infantile rallying cry from the left
The Unspectacular NOW!
Source: National Review – (12/04/2015)
“Now,” especially when followed by an exclamation point, or written in all capital letters, or both — Now! — is the least conservative word in the English language. “We must act now,” proclaims a gentleman bearing the appropriately apocalyptic name of “Flood” in the letters section of the Times-Argus of Vermont. The subject is global warming: “It is unjust and immoral for us to leave a damaged and hostile world to our children. We need to act now.” From Flood to exodus: “Act now or homeless could move to San Francisco,” warns a writer in Chico, Calif., and I am just enough of a crusty old right-winger to wonder what the downside is for Chico in that case.
The new year is inevitably a time of rhetorical immediacy: “Act now to shed fat added over the holidays.”
“Now!” is a rhetorical short circuit, a way to preempt anyone’s thinking too deeply about a proposition. In Bill de Blasio’s New York, the streets are full of idiotic riff-raff chanting: “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it [sic]? Now!” When the country is convulsed by the shooting of a petty criminal in the suburbs of St. Louis, the answer, according to the sort of people who made de Blasio mayor, is dead cops in New York. Don’t bother pointing out how little sense that makes — the “Now!” punctuating that murderous sentiment is all you need to know. Not that killing police in Missouri is any more sensible, but I was puzzled about why New York City had become the locus of anti-police protests until I tightened in and asked further why within New York it is the site around Union Square, rather than One Police Plaza or Staten Island, the scene of Eric Garner’s death at the hands of the NYPD, that is the center of the scene. The answer, so near as I can tell, is: better bars.
“What do we want? Craft beers! When do we want them? Now!”
“Now!” is the eternal cry of the infantile — “What does baby want? Diaper change! When does baby want it? Now!” — and Barack Obama, who has a keen appreciation of that fact, has made immediacy the hallmark of his style. Executive amnesty, minimum wage, climate change — these are all within the realm of the holy Now!, the sort of thing that cannot wait. (Wait for what? Democracy.) The president does his stentorian best to beat some meaning into “the fierce urgency of now,” the phrase from Martin Luther King Jr. around which he once organized a famous speech almost entirely devoid of content. That this is so effective a strategy is despair-inducing. Grown men, and facsimiles thereof, are routinely taken in by this sort of thing; consider Andrew Sullivan’s soft spot for Obama’s dopey “fierce urgency of now” shtick, taking it as evidence that the empty suit from Chicago “meets a moment in history.”
In truth, Obama’s “Now!” huckstering should be utterly familiar to anybody who has ever seen poor Henry Winkler, looking like a Madame Tussaud’s wax sculpture of himself, on television hawking reverse mortgages and promising you a free lighted magnifying reader if you call . . . Now! Not later, not after talking to a financial adviser, your family, or somebody who might have experience with similar products, but now, now, now, because what is your moldy old family home compared with a shiny new free lighted magnifying reader? A strange choice of promotional items, that: Giving the oldsters a means to read the fine print while discouraging them from thinking too hard about it.
“Now!” is the compact variation on “the time for debate is over,” which, as Jonah Goldberg points out, it always is when a Democrat is losing the argument. But it’s the same time when the Left is winning the argument, too. Professor Krugman of the Times is arguably the most influential public intellectual of the Obama era, but when he addresses hoi polloi, his rhetorical style is pure Ph.D., where those three letters denote “pretty heavy diapers.” End This Depression Now! was the title of his communiqué to the general public. Neither his doctoral thesis nor his Nobel lecture contained an exclamation point in its title.