Greek philosopher Diogenes lived 51 years, from 404 BC to 323 BC and founded the Greek philosophy of Cynicism. In his time he was thought of as a “crank” for his strange eccentricities. He would carry a lantern in the in the daytime and when asked why he would say, “I’m just looking for an honest man.”
Eating in the marketplace was a social taboo in ancient Greek, so that is where Diogenes liked to eat. Confronted for this he defended his habit by claiming it was the cheating and lying of the marketplace that made him long for sustanance. Diogenes’ quirks are apparently the source for the name given in 1966 to a present day psychological disorder called Diogenes Syndrome, characterized by extreme self-neglect, domestic squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, compulsive hoarding of trash, and lack of shame. It afflicts mainly the elderly.
So it must be with cautious trepidation that anyone would claim to be looking for an honest Democrat. Were it not that Democrats have consistently chosen serial liars and cheats as their leaders since a least 1992 one would surely risk being dismissed as a kook for the implied accusation of sweeping and predominant dishonesty among Democrats.
“I did not have sex with that woman,” “If you like your insurance you can keep it,” “Benghazi was a spontaneous protest against a Youtube video”, and everything any Democrat says in regard to the ridiculous phony charge against Republicans for a supposed “war on women,” are only a few of the many examples of blatant Democrat mendacity that can be marshaled. It won’t do to say Republicans are no better. They aren’t boy scouts but they don’t misrepresent themselves with anywhere near the consistency of Democrats. The biggest charge to be made against Republicans is not that the lie about who they are, but that they don’t even know who they are and can’t figure out what they stand for. Republicans appear to be on the cusp of winning big in the November election but if that happens it won’t be because they’ve given the American people any reason to favor them, but rather because people are fed up with Democrats at the moment. A Republican win in November won’t be a win at all, it will just be that they were the ones left standing after the voters lodged their protest against Democrats. But I digress.
There are at least two (2) Democrats who are smart, honest and decent and don’t want to put every man, woman and child in America on food stamps. There are at least two Democrats in America who love liberty for themselves and don’t mind if the rest of us also enjoy some freedom. It’s telling, however, that neither of them are elected politicians nor political insiders. One of them is 89 years old, however. Long may he live.
Nat Hentoff, born June 25, 1925, is an authority on the First Amendment. His books and articles regularly defend the rights of Americans to think and speak freely. He writes a column, Sweet Land of Liberty, that has been distributed by the United Feature Syndicate since 1992. All of his recent columns can be found at Jewish World Review.
Hentoff was a columnist and staff writer with The Village Voice for 51 years, from 1957 until 2008. A jazz expert, Hentoff writes on music for The Wall Street Journal and Jazz Times. Hs is currently much concerned with the attacks on free speech and due process on America’s college campuses. The “speech codes” that the Left is attempting to institute in the very place where freedom of thought and inquiry should reign supreme are anathema to Hentoff, as they should be to everyone.
Joel Kotkin is a lifelong Democrat and will no doubt stay that way, as untypical a Democrat that he is. He is an authority on economic, political and social trends. His books include The Next 100 Million: America In 2050 which explores how America will evolve in the next four decades; The City, a Global History, which examines the evolution of urban life over the millennia and attempts to explain what makes a city great; and his most recent that I am presently reading, The New Class Conflict, written from the point of view of those who are the losers in this class conflict: the middle class. Kotkin’s most recent writing is a column in the Orange County Register last Friday, Thunder on the Left, in which he writes of the Leftward lurch among Democrats and their disenchantment with Obama’s fat-cat crony capitalism and his close ties with the moguls of Wall Street and Silicon Valley who have been the chief beneficiaries of his economic policies, while middle-class incomes have fallen.
Kotkin and Hentoff are two Democrats, Hentoff even calls himself a liberal, who care about much of the same things conservatives care about. They care about (among other good things) liberty, limited government, and fiscal responsibility. They’re the only two Democrats I’ve found who care about those things. There used to be a lot more of them. My mother was one, until she died at age 100.