Idiotarianism, Political Philosophy

More On Liberalism And Terror

Kevin Drum has a thoughtful critique of Peter Beinart’s article on terrorism and liberalism. He argues:

Now, Beinart is right that there’s a liberal humanitarian case to be made for some kind of American intervention in the Middle East: the entire region is a cesspool of human rights violations, religious intolerance, violence against women, and brutal poverty amid great wealth. But just as in 1941 and 1949, that’s not enough. It’s never been enough, no matter how much we Americans like to flatter ourselves otherwise. The crusades against fascism and communism won majority support only when it became absolutely clear that they were expansionist ideologies that posed a deep and ongoing threat to the security of the rest of the world.

That’s the story I think Beinart needs to write. He needs to persuade liberals not just that Islamic totalitarianism is bad — of course it’s bad — but that it’s also an overwhelming danger to the security of the United States.

Drum is right, but the problem is that there’s a good segment of the America left that will never be convinced of the threat from Islamic totalitarianism. After September 11 their first response was to blame the actions of the United States — an argument as abhorrent as arguing that a rape victim deserved it because they were dressed too provocatively. The Noam Chomsky/Michael Moore/International ANSWER wing of the Democratic Party used to be a far fringe group, but their power in this last election cycle was disturbingly strong, not only for conservatives, but for moderate Democrats as well.

3,000 people were murdered on September 11, 2001 in one of the most atrocious acts in human history. If that isn’t enough to convince people of the threat of terrorism nothing will be.

That’s why the Democrats lost on the security issue, and that’s why Beinart is right in pointing out that the Democrats need to strongly refute the far-left of their own party in order to survive. Even Clinton was willing to stand up against Sister Souljah in 1992 when she made a series of idiotic and paranoid comments. Rather than causing him to lose, Clinton showed that is moderate “New Democrat” rhetoric had some substance to it. It certainly didn’t cause him to lose the black vote.

Had Kerry done the same with Michael Moore, he would have done better in convincing the American people he wasn’t soft on terrorism. But when the party treats someone who compared the butchers of Fallujah to “Minutemen” regardless of that individual’s celebrity, it sends the message that they believe such things too. Sadly, some of the Democratic Party does believe such things, as the affair Kos illustrated all too clearly. As Beinart points out, there are far too many Democrats who view the GOP as being a greater threat to al-Qaeda. When you have Democrats out there stating that 11/2/04 is worse than 9/11/01, what message does that send about the seriousness of Democrats in fighting the war on terrorism?

There are legitimate criticisms of the war on terror. There is a legitimate argument that states that the Bush Administration is on the wrong side of the balance between security and liberty. These arguments may not be correct, but rational people have made them in a rational way. The problem is that these rational Democrats are quickly drowned out by George Soros, MoveOn, Michael Moore, The Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, and the like and their infantile associations between Bush and Hitler.

The typical Democratic response to all this is to fling more mud back at the Republicans and accuse the American people of being too stupid or brainwashed to accept their superior wisdom. So long as the Democrats keep on that course, they can kiss the concept of being in the political mainstream goodbye. While Beinart, Drum, and some other Democrats clearly understand this, they’re still a minority within the Democratic Party — ensuring that the Democratic Party itself will remain a minority party.

18 thoughts on “More On Liberalism And Terror

  1. Please name some of these liberals who blamed America for the 9-11 attacks. The only people I know who blamed America for 9-11 were Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who aren’t exactly pillars of the American left.

    My guess is that 11-2-04 will prove to have been a more damning day in American history than 9-11-01 because it was the day Americans ensured our nation would do the terrorists work for them for years to come. We will continue doing the terrorists work by using most of our military might towards fighting Sunni insurgents in Fallujah and Mosul rather than al-Qaida terrorists, simultaneously providing al-Qaida a recruiting bonanza through the death of Iraqi civilians and lending credibility to the al-Jazeera claim that we’re engaged in a war against Islamic culture rather than a concrete enemy who have killed Americans and promise to do so again. We will continue doing the terrorists work for them by sabotaging our economy through a continuity of dual deficits that Bush’s policies have inflated and proudly intend to continue inflating. We will continue doing the terrorists work for them by encouraging further gluttonous energy consumption that ultimately finances the very people we’re sending our troops overseas to kill.

    9-11-01 was a national wake-up call, no question. However, if 9-11 was the pain, 11-2 was the Oxycontin. Just ask Rush Limbaugh….sometimes the painkillers prove far more self-destructive than the pain.

  2. Please name some of these liberals who blamed America for the 9-11 attacks.

    Susan Sontag, Katha Pollit, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, and Michael Moore for starters.

    My guess is that 11-2-04 will prove to have been a more damning day in American history than 9-11-01 because it was the day Americans ensured our nation would do the terrorists work for them for years to come.

    Which only proves the essential thesis that a significant fraction of the Democratic Party doesn’t have the first clue about national security or terrorism.

  3. And we’re right back to where we were yesterday….you claiming Michael Moore represents the Democratic party mainstream, and me reminding you that Jerry Falwell stands for a much more widely embraced sector of your party’s constituency than Taliban war opponents represent in the Democratic Party. Your failure to acknowledge that a large share of your fellow GOPers, including Falwell, who “get it” in regards to wars in the Middle East support the efforts on religious war grounds leaves you less-than-credible in your condemnation of a small liberal fringe who blames 9-11 on America.

    By the way, I’m not familiar with the first three liberal columnists you mentioned. I’ve heard of Noam Chomsky, but haven’t read anything by him. I’ll have to take your word for it that they claimed 9-11 was America’s fault. What specifically did Michael Moore say that qualifies as “9-11 is America’s fault”?

    Reading the wholesale dismissal of legitimate points raised by the left regarding our current domestic and foreign policies empowering the enemy in your closing sentence, it gets increasingly difficult to disqualify you with the absolutist “crusade” wing of the GOP party represented by Falwell who claims to have a monopoly on the right answers.

  4. When Jerry Fallwell made his asinine comments, he was soundly repudiated by damn near everyone. In fact, I can’t think of anyone who stood up for him.

    You certainly didn’t see major Republican figures praising him, he wasn’t invited as a guest of honor at the RNC, and he doesn’t represent the mainstream of conservative thought despite all your baseless accusations.

    As Beinart and Drum point out and illustrate with facts, Moore and his ilk make up a sizable fraction of the Democratic Party and to this day there has been no public condemnation of Moore’s dishonest and outright anti-Americanism from the left. So long as that remains the case, the Democrats will remain outside the political mainstream. You can argue that Moore doesn’t really represent the Democrats all you want, but the reality is otherwise, and at least 51% of the country saw it that way.

  5. Interesting that someone who “doesn’t represent the ideals of the Democratic party” would be given a seat of honor at the DNC, eh wot? And roundly embraced by Terry McAuliffe, no less. I’m sure it’s comforting for most liberal democrats to believe that more conservatives are in tune with the lunatic fringe of the right than the converse, but this certainly doesn’t seem to be borne out by the facts – or by the election results

  6. Nukevet, nearly half of Bush voters believe that two out of every three Americans has one choice…embrace evangelical religious views of their specific denomination or burn in hell for the rest of eternity. Sure glad you guys have a handle on your wingnuts.

    Jay, I’m not as confident as you that 51% of American voters cast their ballot for George Bush as a repudiation of Michael Moore. If opposition to Michael Moore is indeed all that is holding Bush’s coalition together, I don’t give it a very long life expectancy.

  7. What the hell does “half of Bush voters believe 2 out of every 3 Americans….” mean? I’m not sure at all what point you are trying to make – that 2/3rds of 1/2 of Bush voters believe in a specific god? And, is anyone who believes in God and the concept of heaven and hell a wingnut by your definition? What about us “progressive conservatives” (I know, in your worldview, no such thing) – support abortion rights, support gay rights, atheist, support the war against radical islam, reject turning the USA into a nanny state that rewards people for mediocrity, reject the idea that there are root causes of terrorism that are SOLEY our responsibility to fix, etc.

    Making fun of red state Americans will not be a successful strategy for the rebuilding of the democratic party. Inflammatory rhetoric may be good for book sales, but it does not typically make good campaign fodder.

  8. There’s probably no way to say this that red voters can comprehend, but it’s not complicated. Approximately half of Bush voters (evangelicals) believe that the two-thirds of the country who are non-evangelicals are doomed to eternal damnation because of less intense religious views than they harbor. I’m not walking on eggshells for four years to make sure I don’t upset the evangelical conservatives. They’re all Republicans and the fact that they think us “infidels” are going to hell is a good indication that either compromise or converting them to the left is not gonna happen simply by kissing their ass. As far as I’m concerned, we’re in the early stages of a civil war, and I see no point in the left delaying the inevitable by quoting the Bible every third sentence, carrying a shotgun over our shoulders in any place it’s legal to do so and reassuring Bush’s base that we feel just as strongly about the need to discriminate against gays as they do. We would be wise to reduce our Hollywood ties, but John Kerry and Al Gore were called phonies every time they made a gesture to get on red America’s good side. If we have to sell out everything to get elected, then we can just resign ourselves to the fact that we’re already living the Rapture.

  9. And that smug, superior attitude is exactly why the current iteration of the democratic party will continue to lose local, regional, and national seats. Perhaps the reason John Kerry was called a phoney was because he WAS one, at least when it came to conservative values and mores. Did he run on his liberal record? No, he chose to run on a make believe script of Christmas in Cambodia and “where can I git me one of them huntin’ licenses”. A stupid strategy with a predictable outcome.

    And your Civil war quote is more useless hyperbole – but if you are right and this is the early phase of CWII, the blue states are in a world of hurt. In 1860, the North defeated the South purely because of manpower and supply side issues. Think that particular set of circumstances still holds? And, just in case you’re actually serious about the red and blue taking up arms against each other – you gonna side with the Nascar group or the latte’ group? Your choice.

  10. I’d side with the latte drinkers- they have more cash, and that’s what makes all the difference in modern warfare. 😛

  11. Nukevet, it’s pretty obvious that the left (or in the case of the Democratic Party circa 2004, the center right) is damned if they do and damned if they don’t as far as appealing to red state voters. John Kerry was a hunter and devout religious man who attended church every week (more than can be said for Bush, who admits to not being a weekly churchgoer) capable of quoting scripture at the drop of a hat. But since red staters had already made up their mind that Kerry was pond scum, they dismissed him as a phony and suggested his goose hunts and references to his faith were insincere. We could nominate Andy Griffith and still be called smug and phony elitists who don’t understand Middle America, so there’s no way to win in playing the pandering game.

    I’m resigned to the fact that the Dems are a minority party for at least 10 years, and that will happen whether we kiss the asses of Southern Baptists and gay bashers or if we focus on real issues such as deficit reduction, job growth and universal health care. If there’s some Miracle Man out there who can captivate the hearts and minds of enough red state voters to get to 270 electoral votes, he’s not on my radar screen, meaning the Dems are likely to have to wait out the self-destruction of the GOP coalition. This is not likely to take very long considering the GOP coalition can only be maintained through an unsustainable borrow-and-spend modus operandi. Unfortunately for the Dems, by the time red staters realize they can’t have it all at the same time as the GOP is currently promising, the long-term damage to the country will be so irreparable that our standard of living will have suffered long-term decline.

    As for my civil war forecast, it doesn’t have to be fought with guns and swords….it can’t be fought with pens. When the blue states (i.e. those who pay the bills) decide they’re no longer gonna be told how to live their lives by the people who relentlessly feed from the trough of highway funds, crop subsidies and pork-barrel defense projects, a decision to secede would give red state voters a good reason to keep clutching onto those bibles of theirs. Without blue state dollars propping them up, the red states would have an economy eerily reminiscent to the other theocracies of the globe.

  12. Mark: Looks like the anti-spam filter screwed up and deleted your earlier comments as spam. Once the DNS propagation is through, you shouldn’t have any problems posting, other than the usual problem of making a fool of yourself… 🙂

  13. Hmmm. You talk about civil war? Funny, divide this country by red and blue counties, and you will see that we (red) have all the land, all the food (farms), and all the guns (imagine that). All you will have is cities full of rioting liberals. Go ahead, start something, I dare you.

  14. Prompt, the number of red counties are irrelevant as rural regions (such as the one where I live) are propped up entirely by the tax contributions of blue voters both nationally and state by state. If blue America decides to turn the spicket off the shower cleansing red America with highway funds, crop subsidies and elaborate irrigation systems that make the entire American Southwest livable, you guys will die of dehydration and ruin the shocks on your SUV’s on your way to the coasts to charge the castles of the blue staters with pitchforks.

  15. This whole discussion is rather asinine. There isn’t going to be a civil war because most people have more common sense than your average far-left moonbat. Those who do wish to leave the country can find Canada to their north. Dress warmly.

  16. Is the prospect of a civil war really that far-fetched? I was obviously playing along with PromptCritical’s literal interpretation of my statement implying armed combat among red staters and blue staters, but the cultural divide is so intense that I can’t see half (or 48% for that matter) of the country sitting idly by while watching a plutocratic, fundamentalist revolution that they don’t agree with being engineered by the very people whose existence depends on this “cultural elite.”

    I always used to think a revolution was imminent in this country based on the limb-by-limb decapitation of blue-collar America that’s been unfolding for the past 25 years. But the complete lack of organization among today’s laborers and the preoccupation with religious and cultural issues has a plurality of today’s poor believing they don’t deserve a liveable wage, health insurance or collective bargaining power. Nonetheless, the national obsession with cultural issues has taken center stage, and the red state-blue state dynamic clearly shows the inmates are running the asylum. With that in mind, a few symbollic gestures of secession among blue states could send a clear message to those who depend on them (that would be the red states) to fill the trough with juicy pork year after year after year that perhaps a little bit of compromise may not be such a bad idea after all.

    The solution hyped by Republicans for Democrats electoral future–lavishing attention on spoiled children stomping their feet and demanding to be noticed–is only gonna make the children stomp their feet further. A good ass-paddling behind the woodshed would be a far more effective way to show the children who the adults are.

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