The War Within The War

Belmont Club has another brilliant analysis of the war over the war, the battle between the old liberal order and the new "liberal" order.

Except those who carry the mantle of liberalism have, with some exceptions, stopped believing in it.

In order to make that argument, we have to know what the concept of liberalism is. The tenets of liberalism are based on the rationality of Enlightenment, individual rights, and political freedom. Democracy and liberalism are parallel concepts – the only liberal system of government is by necessity a democratic one, as only democracy places an emphasis on rationality, free enterprise, and the rights of the individual. Democratization and liberalism go hand in hand, and the great liberal undertaking has always been the spread of democratization.

However, what is now called liberalism is now something else. Some call it "transnational progressivism" while others call it neostatism. It is an ideology which elevates process over results. It is best seen in the United Nations. The UN is a phenomenally corrupt organization, from the oil-for-food scam that gave $10 billion to Saddam Hussein’s death machine, the unwillingness to assist in the Sudanese genocide (similar to the Rwandan genocide a few years ago – another case where the UN did nothing), the impotence of the UN to prevent the massacre at Srebrenica, and the UN’s continuing anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli bias.

One would ask why anyone would continue to argue that the UN should ever be trusted again. Wretchard seems to have the answer:

The particular venom with which the Liberals regard President Bush is at heart a reaction to what they perceive as a coup de état directed against the carefully constructed edifice of their historical achievements. To understand why the President and individuals like Paul Wolfowitz are described as “illegitimate”, one should not, like the man who doesn’t get the reference, look to the Florida chads or US Supreme Court decisions. Liberals are not talking about that kind of statutory legitimacy. Rather they are referring to what is perceived as a brazen attempt to negate the cultural equivalent of the Brezhnev doctrine, the idea that certain “progressive” modes of behavior, once attained, are irreversible. In this view, an entire set of attitudes, commonly referred to as “political correctness” and their institutional expressions, like the United Nations, have become part of a social contract, part of an unwritten constitution.

The UN has become less of a political institution and more of a secular religious institution. Kofi Annan is the Pope of the transnationalist movement — a man whose decisions are considered all but infallible by his throngs of sycophantic admirers. The oil-for-terror scam, the Srebrenica massacre, Darfur, Rwanda, all of it is ignored. The UN is good, and transnationalism is good.

The problem I have with the left is that they are perfectly willing to abandon the principles of liberalism while using its name. The war in Iraq was and is a war to liberate 25 million people from abject tyranny. If we believe that democracy is worth defending, if we believe that the principles of human rights are innate to the human condition, if we believe that all people deserve the right to live in freedom, we cannot accept places like Iraq. We cannot accept the systematic and widespread oppression that has blackened the Arab and Muslim world. If we accept these things we have the moral duty to act.

Yet it is those who bear the name of liberalism who have most vigorously denied it. The left now joins xenophobes like Pat Buchanan in arguing that the US has no business spreading democracy across the world, and if we just abandoned the Middle East and especially Israel to the tides of terrorism we could simply ignore the rest of the world.

For many, such a foolish notion crashed down along with two towers, a section of the Pentagon, and an airliner in Pennsylvania. The option of ignoring the tides of Islamofascism worldwide is no option at all. Either we end this threat with everything we have, or thousands more will die. A single biological attack could unleash another Black Death, killing millions. Such an option is completely unacceptable. We are in the middle of a war for civilization itself, a war that is not merely confined to al-Qaeda or any particular terrorist group any more than fascism was constrained only to Nazi Germany. This is World War III, and too many of our own people seem blissfully unaware of it.

If we are not willing to defend the values of democracy in Iraq, we don’t deserve them ourselves. If religious tolerance does not apply to the Middle East, we don’t deserve tolerance, and we certainly will lose it if shari’a spreads across the globe. If we don’t believe that individual rights matter, we will lose them.

If some in this country place their own petty and vindictive partisanship above the most basic value of liberalism, if some in the world continue to cling to the discarded ideologies of the past, if some feel the need to embrace fascism and oppression so long as it is the right kind of fascism and oppression, then they have abrogated any right to call themselves "liberal".

4 thoughts on “The War Within The War

  1. 3 options:
    1-you don’t believe a single word of what you wrote.
    2-you have no idea who are the people you are supporting, and therefore you actually believe their lies (let me tell you that Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s hair on any iraki’s religious freedom. If you wanna talk about oil security, israel security, regional leadership, alternative to the Saudis, or many other reasons that’s fine, but please cut the crap on human rights and republicans’ compassion for oppressed arabs)
    3-this is sarcasm again and I don’t get it.

    “This is WWIII”
    Unless you consider that the US is the world, the answer is no. As far as I know, no country is actually considering being at war except Bush’s America!! (please answer that UK is at war as well, so that I can remind everyone how hard the labour party was slapped in last week’s elections, showing the opposition of the population to the philosophie of fear and war of civilisation !!) The US are doing exactly what Bin Laden wanted, and you are too arrogant to even consider this option. Pushing the conflict against “terrorists” will necessarily hurt citizens as well(bombs in wedding; innocent detainees; abuses; etc.), enlarging the community of anti-american fanatics. If you want to fight Bin Laden, then stop supporting the main recruiter of islamist human bombs: G.W.Bush.

    Of course the US have a great role in spreading democracy. This is NOT what they are doing today (unless sodomising prisonners is the latest democratic game).

  2. Wake up and smell the fucking bombs.

    You don’t think we’re at war? Try asking Madrid. Or Jakarta. Or Bali. Or Moscow.

    The French wouldn’t know evil until it marched down the Champs-Elysee – and then they’d still appease it. Europe’s ignorance will be its downfall. Fifty years ago the Germans said they didn’t know about the concentration camps despite the fact that the stench of death and ashes of the murdered fell like snow at their feet.

    Sadly, it appears that the Europeans continue to shut their eyes to genocide from Darfur to Baghdad to Tehran to their own front yard.

    Shameful. Simply shameful.

  3. Brilliant post. You are so correct in that what is called “liberalism” today has nothing to do with classical liberalism, which really did take liberty as one of its highest values.

    Today’s liberals do sound a lot like Pat Buchanan…look at John F’in Kerry and his statements that for him spreading freedom and democracy would not be a high priority. And this guy wants to be the leader of the free world.

    I have always maintained that modern liberalism was more like a religion to its adherents, and your post explains that very well. It really is a throwback to Marxism, where Marx wanted a secular culture so that the Marxist state could be the object of people’s faith and devotion.

  4. Jay, don’t forget to thank IBM for the “snow” in Europe between 1940 and 1945…and then, you can slap yourself for pretending that only europe can be blind and cover up genocides.

    Moreover, you should definitely stop talking about Europe alltogether because:
    1-you obviously don’t know much about us (besides what Fox is saying)
    2-Europe is not a country, it’s a very recent Union, and there are still many differences that prevents to put us all in the same bag.

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