Monday, May 23, 2005

Leaving The Left

This may be one of the best articles I have ever linked on this blog. Keith Thompson is a self described liberal who is "Leaving the Left.

He does an incredible job of capturing what is wrong with liberals in this day and age.

I suspect that there are many liberals like him out there. But, as he states, it takes time for these things to work themselves out in your mind.
My estrangement hasn't happened overnight. Out of the corner of my eye I watched what was coming for more than three decades, yet refused to truly see. Now it's all too obvious. Leading voices in America's "peace" movement are actually cheering against self-determination for a long-suffering Third World country because they hate George W. Bush more than they love freedom.

Like many others who came of age politically in the 1960s, I became adept at not taking the measure of the left's mounting incoherence. To face it directly posed the danger that I would have to describe it accurately, first to myself and then to others. That could only give aid and comfort to Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and all the other Usual Suspects the left so regularly employs to keep from seeing its own reflection in the mirror.
This is an excellent point! After the election super democrat James Carville did some research and determined that the democrats needed to get their message back. A messagethat would make them the champion of the people again. One that would demonstrate forward moving ideas and that would reconnect with the blue collar American. A platform that was less reactionaryand that the common American could identify with. For this he was castigated by the DNC,, and all the far left special interest groups.

I think "they hate George W. Bush more than they love freedom" might be my new favorite quote.

Thompson continues:
A turning point came at a dinner party on the day Ronald Reagan famously described the Soviet Union as the pre-eminent source of evil in the modern world. The general tenor of the evening was that Reagan's use of the word "evil" had moved the world closer to annihilation. There was a palpable sense that we might not make it to dessert.

When I casually offered that the surviving relatives of the more than 20 million people murdered on orders of Joseph Stalin might not find "evil'" too strong a word, the room took on a collective bemused smile of the sort you might expect if someone had casually mentioned taking up child molestation forsport.

My progressive companions had a point. It was rude to bring a word like "gulag" to the dinner table.
Amazing. The inability of the left to vilify the socialists, Marxists, or fascists simply astounds me. I can only imagine what it must have been like for a man who joined the party to fight against these evils.

I look back on that experience as the beginning of my departure from a left already well on its way to losing its bearings. Two decades later, I watched with astonishment as leading left intellectuals launched a telethon- like body count of civilian deaths caused by American soldiers in Afghanistan. Their premise was straightforward, almost giddily so: When the number of civilian Afghani deaths surpassed the carnageof Sept. 11, the war would be unjust, irrespective of other considerations.

Stated simply: The force wielded by democracies in self-defense was declared morally equivalent to the nihilistic aggression perpetuated by Muslim fanatics.

Susan Sontag cleared her throat for the "courage" of the al Qaeda pilots. Norman Mailer pronounced the dead of Sept. 11 comparable to "automobile statistics." The events of that day were likely premeditated by the White House, Gore Vidal insinuated. Noam Chomsky insisted thatal Qaeda at its most atrocious generated no terror greater than American foreign policy on a mediocre day.
And these people wonder why we doubt their patriotism.

Want a clear concise explanation of why we oppose Affirmative Action? Here you go straight from a liberal who fought for actual minority rights.
These days the postmodern left demands that government and private institutions guarantee equality of outcomes. Any racial or gender "disparities" are to be considered evidence ofculpable bias, regardless of factors such as personal motivation, training, and skill. This goal is neither liberal nor progressive; but it is what the left has chosen. In a very real sense it may be the last card held by a movement increasingly ensnared in resentful questing for group-specific rights and the subordination of citizenship to group identity. There's a word for this: pathetic.
Affirmative action is supposed to give equal opportunity, not equal outcome. Liberals see a minority underepresented in a certain field and automatically think that there are fully qualified minorities just lying around being repressed. My belief: best person gets the position, period. Be it position in school, at work, or wherever you give the position to the best person for the job.

Thomas goes on to detail some specific insanities that drove him away from the left
In the name of "diversity," the University of Arizona has forbidden discrimination based on "individual style." The University of Connecticut has banned "inappropriately directed laughter." Brown University, sensing unacceptable gray areas, warns that harassment "may be intentional or unintentional and still constitute harassment." (Yes, we're talking "subconscious harassment" here. We're watching your thoughts ...).

Wait, it gets better. When actor Bill Cosby called on black parents to explain to their kids why they are not likely to get into medical school speaking English like "Why you ain't" and "Where you is," Jesse Jackson counteredthat the time was not yet right to "level the playing field." Why not? Because "drunk people can't do that ... illiterate people can't do that."

When self-styled pragmatic feminist Camille Paglia mocked young coeds who believe "I should be able to get drunk at a fraternity party and go upstairs to a guy's room without anything happening," Susan Estrich spoke up for gender- focused feminists who "would argue that so long as women are powerless relative to men, viewing 'yes' as a sign of true consent is misguided."
Look out! 1984 is calling! Yes doesn't mean yes. You can be prosecuted for mentally harassing someone. There is no such thing as bad grammar, only speech pattern tolerance.

This actually doesn't surprise me at all:
I'll admit my politics have shifted in recent years, as have America's political landscape and cultural horizon. Who would have guessed that the U.S. senator with today's best voting record on human rights would be not Ted Kennedy or Barbara Boxer but Kansas Republican Sam Brownback?

He is also by most measures one of the most conservative senators. Brownback speaks openly about how his horror at the genocide in the Sudan is shaped by his Christian faith, as King did when he insisted on justice for "all of God's children."

It amazes me that this kind of thing would be uttered by a former liberal. I guess it's true that the Democrats are having trouble moving out of the 60's:
In the sixties, America correctly focused on bringing down walls that prevented equal access and due process. It was time to walk the Founders' talk -- and we did. With barriers to opportunity no longer written into law, today the body politic is crying for different remedies.

America must now focus on creating healthy, self-actualizing individuals committed to taking responsibility for their lives, developing their talents, honing their skills and intellects, fostering emotional and moral intelligence, all in all contributing to the advancement of the human condition.

At the heart of authentic liberalism lies the recognition, in the words of John Gardner, "that the ever renewing society will be a free society (whose] capacity for renewal depends on the individuals who make it up." A continuously renewing society, Gardner believed, is one that seeks to "foster innovative, versatile, and self-renewing men and women and give them room to breathe."

Something I have noted on this blog in the past is the Democrats seeming view that they are the only smart people in the world(the Stop Insulting My Intelligence series). I think this is a fundamental reason that the left cannot see the value of a free Iraq or Afghanistan. Something Thompson notes very explicitly
Leftists who no longer speak of the duties of citizens, but only of the rights of clients, cannot be expected to grasp the importance (not least to our survival) of fostering in the Middle East the crucial developmental advances that gave rise to our own capacity for pluralism, self-reflection, and equality. A left averse to making common cause with competent, self- determining individuals -- people who guide their lives on the basis ofreceived values, everyday moral understandings, traditional wisdom, and plain common sense -- is a faction that deserves the marginalization it has pursued with such tenacity for so many years.
Please read this whole article. Especially if your family is a lifelong Democrat. The clarity that he wields in cutting up the left is very very refreshing.