Adolph Adams finally stood up.
His candidature was finally to begin, at this small ‘fringe’ event.
His bald head shimmered a little under the uneasy light.
Instead of shifting nervously on his feet like Deborah, or anxiously scratching his head like Saul, Adolph stood his ground; gazing compassionately on the crowd before him, who were all sheep without the merest hope of a shepherd.
The speech began.
There was a time when many of us were to ask what was left of the left.
But then again…
Who now reads Cohen?
Or better still…
Who now reads Popper, or Berlin; greater by far? To say nothing of Constant, Mill, Jefferson?
It already appears a little anachronistic to ask.
Is the liberal left on its last legs?
Or is it merely out for the count?
Now, although it is easy to sneer at Stalinist or Maoist critiques of our ‘ideology,’ there is a very strong kernel of truth behind these condemnations, however mystified they may be.
Historically speaking, liberals have been unable to decide whether we are for Humanity or for People; for Humanitarianisn of for Humanism; for Collectivism or for Individualism.
Our inability to decide between two radically irreconcilable vision of human life and of human wellbeing is our responsibility, and our guilt.
It is all too easy to mock and sneer at those who are heavily critical of liberalism.
If liberals chose to consistently fall on the one side and not on the other, then there would be a great deal more to say for us, and for our philosophy, and our agendas.
But as things stand, Nietzscholiberalism is as far away as ever.
Sadly, the fire alarm put paid to Adolph’s first attempts at a speech.
The disgruntled crowd milled out.
Although this was far from a stampede.
“We can work with these people,” Deborah pleaded, earnest-eyed; tugging Adolph’s sleeve, as he casually sauntered out.
Adolph smiled, faintly.
“They are the best in the world.”
Seamus Riddle glared resentfully, as he ‘casually walked past’ the town hall; the tightness of Deborah’s long, black dress and the ampleness of her bosom filled his loins with an unbearable torrent of rageful passion.
He imagined yoking her neck to a plow and ruthlessly doggying her in front of her screaming children and tearful parents (she didn’t have any, but what did that matter to the likes of him?)
He imagined many vile and evil things that it is not possible to mention here.
However, his imaginations were very different from those of Deborah and Adolph.
He suspected Adolph of ignoble intentions to the slimly curvaceous, brown-eyed beauty.
And like the proverbial frog at the bottom of a well, he could only imagine the hearts of others being similarly dark and benighted to his own.