Over the past decade or so I’ve grown fonder and fonder of Umberto Giordano’s 1896 opera Andrea Chenier. Like many Americans I used to consider myself a Liberal before Liberalism became as oppressive, totalitarian and intellectually suffocating as Christian Conservatism had always been. I’ve never gone as far as people like Roger Simon, David Horowitz and others who went overboard the other way and became Conservatives but I definitely despise the cowardly hypocrites and mindless conformists called American Liberals.
Andrea Chenier, the title figure of Giordano’s opera, was a poet who happily embraced the French Revolution at the outset but later grew appalled at the excesses of the Reign of Terror. He courageously wrote condemnations of the Jacobins, whom he felt distorted the original aims of the Revolution and turned it into a vehicle for their own personal abuse of power.
Chenier paid the price for his courage and for speaking his conscience. He was guillotined a few days before the mass executions ended. The demented zealots of the American Left have likewise gone too far and similarly turn on former allies over the slightest departure from dogma. Giordano’s opera is not entirely about such themes but I find myself going back to it at least once a year in these times because of how much the message still resonates.
American Liberals have become nothing but fascists who disregard other people’s civil rights and ignore the rule of law. They favor censorship on a massive scale, the rewriting of history to suit their political fetishes of the moment and the blacklisting of anyone who opposes them. Worst of all are the 1960’s generation of Liberals. They are far too spineless to address the real issues so they endlessly restage old battles against wrongs that were corrected long ago. And all the while they pretend they’re the Young Turks in town, pushing daring new ideas even though all they do is regurgitate the conventional wisdom from five decades ago.
I often wonder if those old-timers ever reflect on how the ONLY people who buy all the way into their outdated worldview are people too young to know any better. Probably not, since American Liberals don’t seem capable of introspection or examining their own lives. They think those activities are strictly for the people they lecture and whine to. Even worse is how 60’s Liberals think everyone who grows up and moves on is “becoming conservative” just because they realize it’s not 1967 anymore.
At any rate, many of the themes in Andrea Chenier retain their relevance even this long after the French Revolution. If you’re not usually a fan of operas you may want to give this one a try just for the timeliness of the material.
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