Monday, October 25, 2004

Ideologically Incapable of National Defense?

An anaysis of the three main strains of leftism and how they cannot be counted on when America needs defending. Fantastical thinking, appeasement, or outright enmity. Three to choose from!

Let us begin by recognizing that today's left-liberals are, at best, uncomfortable with any war fought in the name of national defense. Let us also recognize that left-liberals don't, at bottom, believe much in the nation either, except as a guilty party that owes an endless debt to all the racial and sexual minorities it has allegedly mistreated over the centuries, and as the Santa Claus-like guarantor of the happiness of all its citizens (and non-citizens as well).


And this is where, as I said, liberal politicians and spokesmen find themselves in a quandary. As members of the political class, they are expected to contribute something to the national debate about the war. But, given their liberal beliefs,—in human solidarity and world peace, in the power of negotiation to solve all conflicts, in progress toward global governance, in the transcendence of national identities, and in the equal worth of all cultures and religions—nothing they have to say is remotely useful in planning and conducting a war against enemies who are followers of the most unappeasable religion on earth. From time to time, Democrats have put forward various formulae for opposing our Islamist adversaries, but these proposals tend to be knee-jerk liberal reactions that have little to do with the real world problems they are purported to solve. Reflecting the spectrum of liberal-to-hard-left opinion, sometimes these ideas are simply ludicrous; sometimes they are well-meant but counter-productive; and sometimes they are consciously intended to harm our national interests. The liberals' very contributions to the war debate prove how hopelessly alien to them the project of civilizational defense really is, and reveal the terminal crisis in which liberalism finds itself.

Nancy Pelosi, shortly after she assumed the post of House Democratic leader in November 2002, appeared on the Charlie Rose program and criticized President Bush's approach to the war on terrorism. Asked what she thought America should do to defeat the terrorists, Pelosi initially sidestepped the question, but Rose (most uncharacteristically) kept pushing her for an answer until she finally said that the way to fight Muslim terrorism was through (yes, she really said this) "education."

Pelosi's risible proposal is a perfect illustration of my point. Liberals have always regarded education as the panacea for all social ills, and as the gateway to all human progress. So, when pressed on the question of how to cope with a uniquely dangerous adversary, Pelosi reached into her storehouse of liberal bromides, and "education" was all she could come up with. And this is the top Democrat in the House of Representatives.

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