WASHINGTON -- The death of Fred Ikle last week inspires me to prophesy. Thus far, only the redoubtable Wall Street Journal has remarked on Fred's passing. That he was a formidable mind during the Cold War and important to the peaceful settlement of that decades-long struggle is remembered thanks to the Journal. Yet, to the rest of the media, he is a minor figure -- perhaps a menacing figure. We shall see what they say, but I am not holding my breath. This is the way liberalism creates the Kultursmog, which is to say, the politicized culture that surrounds us.
Now for my prediction: I can foresee the day, decades hence, when some professor of history will come down to the faculty lounge and notify his trusted colleagues of an astonishing discovery. Perhaps he will begin with this: "They weren't all idiots and racists and dunderheads!"
The prof will, of course, be speaking of the members of the conservative movement, the people who began to revive America around their leader, President Ronald Reagan. He will have discovered that those conservatives who resolved the Cold War and got the economy growing again knew just what they were doing. What the professor will use for research, I cannot say. There is plenty of evidence lying around contemporary America, but it is ignored in the standard commentary and history of our times.
That's how the Kultursmog works. It deletes the persona it does not approve of and renders the facts agreeable to moribund liberals. Thus, the other day, on The Washington Post's style page, some Kultursmogist reported on a soiree at the Motion Picture Association of America that convened to mull over how President "Reagan's movie career affected his presidency." Presumably, the discussion was serious. In years gone by, it would have been sneering and risible. But now President Reagan has become domesticated. He is presented as being almost a liberal, defending polite society from the bad guys, people like Ikle.
No conservative known to me was present at the Motion Picture Association of America presentation, which was presided over by a Democrat, MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd. There was Dodd and Andrea Mitchell and Colin Powell and someone by the name of Jeff Bewkes. Oh, yes, and John Harris was there from Politico. He is the objective journalist who, in his book, "The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House," assessed the Clintons as "the two most important political figures of their generation."
Ken Duberstein was also there. He accompanied President Reagan to my home for dinner in 1988, but I really would not call him a conservative. Fred Ikle was a conservative.