I don't know where this should go. "General" seems the only thing that fits. I saved this column a very long time ago because it was exactly how I viewed our history. Now, for the first time, I don't think this will continue to happen. I believe us to be in the second age of the robber barons, only this time they are global and even more powerful. There is not a Teddy Roosevelt in sight. Knute Sometime around the year 1030, King Knute of England and Denmark set his throne on the beach at low water and by royal decree commanded that the tide must not rise. The tide rose, and Knute got wet.. This was an act of humility by the king, who intended to demonstrate the there were forces in the universe greater than himself. In 1994 another guy named Newt, this one from Georgia, went to the steps of the capitol and commanded that the tide of liberalism must not rise. Perhaps this Newt has not studied enough history. If history teaches us anything about politics it is this: Given enough time, liberals always win. The US was forged in liberalism, and has become more liberal with each generation. The leftward movement has seldom been smooth or consistent, but it has been unstoppable. At the time of the revolution America was divided into three roughly equal political camps: Patriots, who wanted independence from England; Tories, who favored staying where they were; and those who didn't much give a damn. If you ask an American schoolchild the definition of a Tory you will likely get the above definition. But if you as a native of Vancouver or London he will tell you that a Tory is a conservative: a member of the Conservative Party. This simple fact of history is too often ignored in American schools: The American Revolution was a revolution of liberals, and was opposed by conservatives. The liberals won in 1781, and the conservative Tories fled to Canada and the Caribbean. America in the 1850's into two roughly equal camps: Those who favored the abolition of slavery, and those who favored its continuance. It can be argued the abolitionists were radicals, not true liberals since they advocated a fundamental restructuring of society; but there is no doubt that the abolitionist movement and the Republican Party that championed it was firmly to the left of center.(both political parties have, at various time, embraced and rejected liberalism. Remember when there were liberal Republicans?) The liberals won in 1865, the Conservatives went underground. At the turn of the century, liberals favored suffrage for women; conservatives opposed it. The liberals won in 1920. During the Great Depression, liberals favored a system of social security; conservatives opposed it. The liberals won in 1938. In the 1950's liberals favored civil rights for African-Americans; conservatives opposed it. The liberals won in 1964. It may seem as if liberalism has been declining since the 60's, that the country is becoming more conservative. There is some truth in this, but much of the belief is an illusion created by a too narrow view of history. Every conservative today supports the liberal cause of 1781. Every conservative today supports the liberal cause of 1865. (maybe not all) Every conservative today supports women's suffrage. Almost every conservative today supports social security. Even Jesse Helms supports voting right for African-Americans, 30 years after he opposed it. So there will come a time-probably is less than 100 year- when every conservative will support equal rights for gays. If you think Ted Kennedy is too liberal, consider this: He is a conservative ahead of his time. Once recognized, the reason for the liberal inevitable victory is clear. Liberals, by definition, support change which increase human rights. Conservatives, by definition, favor the status quo. But society must change and change comes at the expense of the status quo. Thus conservatives are always behind the curve, because the curve is a moving target. Every battle won by conservatives is refought at a later time with different players and a different outcome. Every battle won by the liberals eventually co-opts the conservatives who then draw a new line in the sand a little farther to the left. Now it seems that liberalism in America has waned, that conservatives are destined to sweep the national elections. At this low ebb Newt sets his Contract With America on the beach and commands that the tide of liberalism shall not rise. But sooner or later, with this wave or the next, he too will be humbled by forces greater than himself. A column by Kieth A. Pickering in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.