gressioual opposition to the court-packing scheme and handedrnthe President his first legislative defeat. The New Deal steamrollerrnwas stopped dead in its tracks —hut a battle was soonrnbrewing on another front.rnAs the financial and political elites re”ed-up the war propagandarnmachine, Borah bitterly obser’ed that the samernforces that had dragged us into the first Great War were ineluctablyrndrawing us into a second. British lecturers once againrnbestrode the country, spreading the propaganda of Anglo-Saxonrnsolidarity. Just as in the Great War, the conflict between the Alliesrnand the ixis powers was a clash of empires, a scramble forrncolonies and economic concessions, not a crusade for democracyrnand humanity. He would not be duped again.rnAs German armies blitzed Poland, the Low Countries, andrnFrance, Borah mustered all his resources for the last and greatestrnfight of his life. The 74-year-old Senator, who was quite ill,rnmanned the battlements as the President launched an assaultrnon the Neutrality Act. In this important legislafion, Borah andrnhis fellow “isolationists” had constructed a mighty bulwarkrnagainst the threat of intervention. By stopping the flow of Americanrnarms to the belligerents, the Neutrality Act was designed torninsulate the United States from attack, maintain legitimaterncommercial ties with all parties, deprive American munitionsrnmakers of war profits, and prevent us from being drawn into foreignrnconflicts bv the logic of events. This huge obstacle on thernroad to war was removed only after a long debate, whichrnreached its climax with Borah’s speech to the Senate. Passionatelvrnreasserting the idealism that had inspired the passage ofrnthe Neutrality Act to begin with—the desire to stop the spreadrnof weapons of mass murder—his voice rose, then fell to a whisperrnas he neared the end of his peroration: we were embarkedrnon a course that could only end in war, but it was not too late tornturn back.rnBorah’s last speech was a denunciation of a proposal by Secretar)’rnof the Navy Gharles Edison to give the President dictatorialrnpowers over industry in peacetime. Wlnle the interventionistsrnpointed with alarm to the alleged threat from abroad,rn”the most ‘icious enemies of human liberty, the most dangerousrnto free institutions are the tieacherous foes who seek shelterrnunder the laws and institutions which assure free speech, freernpress, and personal liberty, and then make use of this shelter torndestro’ the government which protects them.” Edison’s proposalrnembodied all the worst fears of the progressive isolationistsrnand their conservative allies: that we would fight National Socialismrnin the trenches and embrace it at home.rnBorah died in January 1940, before the tragedy had completelyrnunfolded. Yet he was hopeful, even at this late hour.rnThough the world looked to be marching in lockstep toward arntotalitarian future, and liberty was seemingly in ignominious retreat,rn”the little democracy of Finland,” bravely and singlehandedlyrnholding ofiFthe Soviet advance, “had demonstrated tornthe world the falsit’ of this cowardly lie.” Had he lived, his optimismrnmay well have been tempered bv the triumph of thernforces he had fought all his life and the utter defeat and extinctionrnof the old-style liberals, of which he was one of the last.rnBorah’s Old Guard Republican enemies considered him arndangerous radical, but his credo was more accurately describedrnby Walter Lippmann in 1936 as “a lineal descendant from thernearliest American liberals, an individualist who opposes allrnconcentration of power, political or economic, who is againstrnprivate privilege and private monopoly, against political bureaucracyrnand centralized government.” He kept a notebook ofrnhis favorite quotations, and one entry by Oliver Goldsmithrnseems to summarize his personality and politics: “Great mindsrnare bravely eccentric; they scorn the beaten track.”rnBorah’s evolution from prairie radical to isolationist reactionar)’rnwas a measure of change not so much in the man asrnin the world he confronted: the liberalism of 1906 was deemedrnreactionary in 1936. In a short time, a whole generation ofrnAmerican liberals found themselves exiled to the other side ofrnthe political spectrum —without having changed their ownrnfundamental stance.rnThis sudden switch in political polarities, a general inversionrnof the traditional categories of left and right, has occurred threerntimes in our histon,-. Before 1914, liberalism meant oppositionrnto imperialism and war, while conservatives were the sons ofrnAres; in Borah’s last days, liberals were doing the war-mongering,rnand the right was pushing peace. The Gold War saw yetrnanother shift of foreign policy values, with the right militanflyrninternationalist and the left reinventing isolationism. In thernpost-Gold War world, it is happening again, as the contents ofrnthis magazine make plain. If leftist historians are now engagedrnin a serious project of “revising” the history of the Americanrnright, let them recognize this transformative phenomenon —rnand its implications for their own “liberal” creed. crnLIBERAL ARTSrnNO HATE IN THE HAIGHTrnWhile Congress considered expanding federal haterncrimes legislation this summer, a Santa Cruz, California,rnman was charged with a hate crime for defending a friendrnin the Haight neighborhood of San Francisco. Accordingrnto the San Francisco Chronicle, Victor Palmer, the allegedrnvictim, had accused Charles McDavid of going on arn”racist rampage.” During a preliminary hearing, however,rna friend of McDavid testified that Palmer had attempted tornrob her, and that McDavid had intervened. Other witnessesrntestified that Palmer often stole drugs and moneyrnfrom people on tlie street. Despite the fact that both policernand prosecutors were informed of the robbery attempt,rnprosecutors decided to press hate crimes charges afterrnthe case received media attention. In early August,rnhowever, San Francisco Municipal Court Judge MaryrnMorgan dropped the hate crimes charges after McDavidrnpled guilty to misdemeanor assault. Wliile handing downrnher sentence, though, she chided him, “It’s not a prettyrnpicture when several people of one race chase people ofrnanother race down the street.” Although disappointed thatrnthe hate crimes charges were dropped, Depuh- District AttorneyrnMaria Bee praised the judge: “She gave [McDavid]rna substantial sentence for someone with no previous criminalrnrecord.”rnNOVEMBER 1998/25rnrnrn