The Corner

Re: Feeding Frenzy

Ramesh, that putdown “well-fed” rang a bell with me. Where had I heard it recently? I quickly remembered: It was in a new biography of Benjamin Britten (which I reviewed for Standpoint, here). The author described Winston Churchill, whom he obviously detests, as a “well-fed Tory.” (I myself might say, “well-fed Tory who saved civilization.”)

Also, readers should remember this (and younger readers should know it for the first time): These people on the right who are lionizing WFB while blasting NR as it is today? These same people, or the same type, attacked WFB repeatedly during his own lifetime. They said he was a sellout, a softie, a former conservative who had been seduced by the Manhattan cocktail circuit. He was an elitist who skied in Switzerland with John Kenneth Galbraith and then sailed on his yacht — possibly with Walter Cronkite — while playing the harpsichord and scarfing caviar. (He called it “cav,” by the way.) He was not a real conservative, with his hands dirty. Talk about well fed!

WFB had spitting contempt for these people, who set themselves up as the arbiters of conservatism, the ideological enforcers. And now that he’s gone, of course: He’s the pure conservative hero.

Rest assured, when we ourselves are gone, we’ll be the pure conservative heroes of yesteryear, and the new guys will be the “establishment” traitors. Same old dumb story.

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