Winds of Change.NET: Liberty. Discovery. Humanity. Victory.

Formal Affiliations
  • Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto
  • Euston Democratic Progressive Manifesto
  • Real Democracy for Iran!
  • Support Denamrk
  • Million Voices for Darfur
  • milblogs
Syndication
 Subscribe in a reader

The Left's Excuse

| 82 Comments | 9 TrackBacks

As Armed Liberal has noted in "Why Am I A Democrat?," the larger war we face is not a just clash of cultures, but also a clash within our own civilization. A "war on bad philosophy" that must be won if our civilizaton is to survive long term.

Greenpeace's mentality, noted in my last post, is but one example. More enlightenment came via an interesting exchange yesterday in the Comments section of my post on Russia's Sweetheart Gas Mega-Deal with Turkmenistan. Commenter Jonathan noted my use of the line: "If the USA did this, it would be called the worst kind of energy imperialism," and responded:
"Rightly so, no? Why is this important? Maybe I'm missing something, but if you're an American, it should be your responsibility to expose US crimes and conflicts of interest, not Russia's. Unlike the latter, you can, at least in theory, do something about the former." Posted by Jonathan at May 29, 2003 10:37 PM
It's a common refrain I hear from liberals as well as the far-left, one whose underlying logic and inherent moral turpitude needs to be exposed and crushed right quick if there's to be any hope of a decent left.

CONTINUED...

Oh yes, Jonathan, rightly so indeed. The Turkmen gas deal was made by playing to the paranoia of an unhinged tyrant, and has "ripoff" written all over it in big neon letters. I'm not an economist, but the terms sure look like energy imperialism to me. I wasn't shy about saying so. Should we criticize our own societies too when it's justified? Of course.

We stop agreeing, however, when Jonathan intones the mantra of America-haters everywhere:

"...if you're an American, it should be your responsibility to expose US crimes and conflicts of interest, not Russia's. Unlike the latter, you can, at least in theory, do something about the former."
This excuse is ages-old, for "excuse" is exactly what it is. It's an open declaration that one will only see evil in America, a twisted philosophy whose logical end point is James Hudnall's line that "No one seems to get outraged by mass murder unless Americans or Israelis are involved." This is, I submit, despicable.

I've heard variants of this argument all too often, and not just from the far left. In fairness, not everyone who espouses it hates America or the West. Those who do often preach it, however, and the meme itself is unsound. If allowed to grow, it leads to both immoral ends and devastating long-term political consequences.

Transpose one identity, and rewind to 1940, and presumably it would remain equally true:

...if you're an American, it should be your responsibility to expose US crimes and conflicts of interest, not Nazi Germany's. Unlike the latter, you can, at least in theory, do something about the former.

Which was, of course, an argument put forth at the time from the isolationist right. Americans' responsibility was to attend to American matters alone. It was very persuasive, at least until Pearl Harbor. A similar cry was heard elsewhere in the 60s, 70s and 80s, from demonstrators who protested U.S. policy in Europe and said not a word for the people like Vaclav Havel and others, or the Gulags of Russia. Read Vaclav Havel himself for his reaction:

"How much trust or even admiration for the Western peace movement can we expect from a simple yet sensitive citizen of Eastern Europe when he has noticed that this movement has never, at any of its congresses or at demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of participants, got around to protesting the fact that five years ago, one important European country attacked a small neutral neighbor and since that time has been conducting on its territory a war of extermination which has already claimed a million dead and three million refugees? Seriously, what are we to think of a peace movement, a European peace movement, which is virtually unaware of the only war being conducted today by a European state? As for the argument that the victims of aggression and their defenders enjoy the sympathies of Western establishments and so are not worthy of support from the left, such incredible ideological opportunism can provoke only one reaction -- utter disgust and a sense of limitless hopelessness."

Read, too, Havel's contemporary Adam Michnik. They're still bitter, and still hold those people in the most abject moral contempt. Rightly so.

In response, one expects the common refrain, "but we couldn't do anything about that." So much easier to just focus on America's wrongs, isn't it? That way, one doesn't even have to notice how many pressure points actually exist, and how much effect it is possible to have. No, the excuse that one cannot do anything about evils elsewhere is not a thought-out position. It's a mantra in the truest sense of the term -- a phrase explicitly designed to clear the mind of thought through repetition.

I covered this excuse and some of its consequences back in "Liberal Builders, Conservative Defenders, and Political Debate," and explained the depth of its mistake. As leftist commentator Michael Walzer notes in "Can There Be A Decent Left?":

"What was necessary after September 11, and what is necessary now, is an engagement with our fellow citizens that recognizes the fellowship. We can be as critical as we like, but these are people whose fate we share; we are responsible for their safety as they are for ours, and our politics has to reflect that mutual responsibility. When they are attacked, so are we;"

Indeed. As I noted in the follow-up:

"One thing a consistent approach to demonstrations and pressure would do (besides isolating the extremists), is clearly show committed liberals to be fundamentally on the same team as the rest of their society. This is not trivial or a waste of time. It's the very foundation of everything you want to build, and essential to a grown-up political movement.

Unnfrair to single us out, you say? Dislike the implicit presumption? Get over it. Conservatives face this same imperative in the economic sphere. For similar reasons. This is your albatross, and like the Right your movement acquired it the old-fashioned way - you behaved yourselves into it."

It's a point worth heeding. At least, if one wants to belong to a decent left that has any credibility with mainstream American society... or with serious people elsewhere.

--- UPDATES ---

  • As always, we have a smart and lively comments section going with good participants.
  • My responses to Matt Yglesias can be found in the comments sections of his blog: "Can There Be A Decent Right" and "Life In the Real World". Matt's history shows that he is not an example of this tendency, though the lib-left as a whole still has this problem. I point to the indicators that the problem is an "actual world" one, show the link to something Matt himself cited in the past, and explain why addressing the issue would benefit liberals most of all.
  • Michael Totten reformulates Jonathan's statement to remove the "... not Russia's" clause, and adds an obligation to be reasonable. This removes many of the problems with Jonathan's statement, and indeed one would expect that a good deal of one's attention should fall on one's own society. Good advice - but "responsible criticism" isn't the issue here.

To summarize: I'm NOT saying "all American Democrats/liberals hate the USA" - though some clearly do, just as some conservatives can take their antipathy toward government to cancerous levels. Rather, I'm arguing that a very specific "can't do anything about..." meme which extends way beyond the far left, inelecutably leads toward a position that can only become excited about evil in America while giving others a clear pass. I'm arguing that this meme is unsound, has immoral consequences, is highly corrosive in numerous ways, and hurts both liberals' political standing and the body politic of which they are a part (q.v. Walzer, Havel, Shalala, Bloom, 25-40% security poll gaps, et. al.). Finally, I'm arguing that removal of this meme and sharp, sustained criticism of it from within the liberal-left could do much to restore liberal fortunes and shore up their philosophy's foundation in America.

Over to the actual world: Should energetic demonstrations be organized against slavery in the Sudan? Should they have been organized against the Gulag system (or the present Laogai system in China, which may produce some of the goods you yourself buy)? Is a Russian gas deal with an unhinged dictator that makes the pipeline more than the gas producer legitimate grounds for criticism as economic exploitation of the Third World? Should Greenpeace have mounted a serious campaign to stop Saddam's spiteful, politically-motivated destruction of a huge wetlands ecosystem? Etc., etc.

The too-frequent refusal by many (not all) on the liberal-left to seriously acknowledge evils unrelated to the West, or to take energetic action against them, was really the central issue... something that goes beyond just the injuction of "responsible criticism". It does translate into cultivated alienation from the wider polis, and a pose of undeserved superiority, but not necessarily hatred.

Clearer now?

9 TrackBacks

Tracked: May 30, 2003 2:50 PM
Can There Be a Decent Right? from Matthew Yglesias
Excerpt: Glenn Reynolds finally links to a post on tax cuts and it's a good one:I don't want any more tax cuts. I personally don't need any more tax cuts. If this was 1980 and the highest federal marginal tax rate...
Tracked: May 30, 2003 3:49 PM
Ruins from Inoperable Terran
Excerpt: Joe Katzman destroys the Left. Highly recommended. (Hat tip: the Blogfather)...
Tracked: May 30, 2003 5:27 PM
A quick roundup from Cold Fury
Excerpt: A good post on the Left’s excuse from Katzman, a defense of statist redistribution by Armed Liberal, and a little...
Tracked: May 30, 2003 6:43 PM
Life in the real world from Matthew Yglesias
Excerpt: Joe Katzman wants a substantive response to this post. I categorically refuse to offer one. Katzman appears to be living in an alternative universe in which "liberals" or "the left" never criticize the human rights records of countries other than...
Tracked: May 31, 2003 12:26 AM
Excerpt: Courtesy of Joe Katzman, who usually qualifies for this categorization....
Tracked: May 31, 2003 2:36 AM
Excerpt: Trent Telenko thinks the Donks are dead and damned. And Joe Katzman has a few things to say to those who think Americans have no right to criticize any country but America.
Tracked: May 31, 2003 4:45 AM
Now Go Away, Tedious Lefty Asswipes... from The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Excerpt: Joe Katzman of the Winds of Change Fisks the Lefty Moonbats and their favorite memes and does a GREAT job...
Tracked: June 2, 2003 2:28 AM
Hidden Meanings from Balloon Juice
Excerpt: The Winds of Change has a long and very readable series of posts about why the Democrats are in trouble
Tracked: June 5, 2003 12:28 PM
Stupid Excuses from Dean's World
Excerpt: Joe Katzman writes on a lousy excuse used by some people in political debate: that it's the job of American liberals to criticize America, whereas...

82 Comments

Excellent, Joe, just excellent.

We need a sane and decent Left. God, it's got to be hard to be one these days. When virtue is defined by cynicism and contempt for your own nation and culture, something's wrong.

Well, just so I can be clear here....

Are you suggesting that we should stop criticizing our own government and our own actions? Or only that we should criticize anyone who betrays our ideals?

I assume the latter, but it's not entirely clear from your post. It sounds like you think anyone who opposed the war is ipso facto indecent.

Dean: it kinda strikes me that the right has just as much cynicism and contempt towards American culture as the left. They just have it towards different aspects of our culture.

If you guys are trying to conflate liberals with the small group of extreme lefties in America, you're really barking up the wrong tree. Unless, of course, it's OK for me to assume that everyone on the right is represented by Joe McCarthy and Jerry Falwell.

Maybe you've noticed that I'm really, really tired of this idiotic trope about how the left hates America. It's simply untrue, and you guys should quit pretending that anyone who favors a more moderate use of American power hates their country. It's contemptible.

(Some of) the Left may not hate America, Kevin, but it does sometimes have a rather parochial attitude towards some important issues.(This is the impression I get from Joe's article)Criticizing the actions of the government isn't wrong...if it is done in good will. Unfortunately, many people (not all of them on the Right) are becoming less convinced that this is the case. The relationship between liberals and conservatives should be similar to a good cop/bad cop routine...different means to the same ends: the security, prosperity, and freedom of the country. The perception is that the Left has rather different ends in mind.
Kevin, I hope you understand that this is meant as honest criticism, not as a partisan shot.

Kevin,

I hope you don't mind if I enter the fray. I agree with your comment that the right in this country also has contempt for wide swathes of American culture and society--they are just different swathes than those despised by the left.

But attributing this problem to political tribalism doesn't get us very far. That's because your logic overlooks the reasons lefty critiques of "Amerika" are more damaging to that side than are righty critiques. Partly, it's because lefty criticism takes as its mantra that American ideals have NEVER been realized: first there was slavery and sexism, then union-bashing and civil rights abuses, then things seemed to be getting better but Reagan zapped everyone's brains and we lurched into conservative hell. The right can always hold up bits and pieces of American history as the golden age to which we must return, but the left has trashed everything except the evanescent "Progressive Era" and MLK Jr.

Moreoever, while the right can cast its critical eye across the rest of the world and declare (not without justice) that not much else even comes close to the US in terms of prosperity and social justice, the left must keep its "diversity is good" blinders on at all times. So what if this means you cannot take a strong stand against maniacs like Saddam Hussein or Robert Mugabe? Mugabe must be given a pass because he led Zimbabwe out of its colonialist purgatory into the promised land of African rule.

I could go on, but let's see if someone else wants to pick up the ball.

"..if you're an American, it should be your responsibility to expose US crimes and conflicts of interest, not Nazi Germany's."

Responsibility starts at home. The remark by Jonathan really hits the spot. If the Germans in Nazi Germany had had the moral fortitude to do something about Hitler the world would have been a much, much better place.

Instead the people of Nazi Germany, like Stalinist Russia, and post-1945 USA, have taken it upon themselves to export "revolution", "regime change" and "liberation" to the citizens of the world.

And each regime has its own home-grown apologists. Mugabe is a monster, but Zimbabwe does not have the world's most powerful army, or the world's most impressive nukes, or a penchant for invading other countries as regular as clockwork, nor has Zimbabwe killed as many people as the US has. But we have to go after Mugabe first instead. (Ironically enough Mugabe feels it necessary to point out the UK's colonial evils in almost every speech he makes. The mote in thy neighbor's eye ...)

Face it, the US as a State is a hyperpower, it is a largely amoral hyperpower, and since the end of the second world war a hyperpower unparalleled in terms of invasions and occupations, and second only to Mao's China in terms of human lives taken.

And we're supposed to get excited about Robert Mugabe.

This is the sort of drivel we get when people start worshipping the State. Drivel from people who do not even know what conservatism means, and expect that the innate moral superiority of whatever buffoon they choose to vote for, will reform the world in a wiser, more kindly, and humane way than all the Marxist, Statist, and Leftist buffoons who preceded him.

InFilling, US history since 1949 looks pretty bad if you ignore the actions of the Soviet Union. If you include the Soviet Union into the equation your comments look dillusional.

Put Chomsky down and read some Hitchens for a change.

One reason it's reasonable, I think, for us to try and export our idea of common decency across the world is that every other political system tries to do the same, or would if it could. It's a prisoners' dilemma. We could be nice, and live and let live, but socialists want to spread world socialism, communists world communism, fascists world fascism, and theocrats universal theocracy. That they don't do so, except on a teensy local scale, is because we're stopping them from doing so. Our power looks mighty and secure right now, but that's a passing, transitory thing. If we fold up, disengage from the world, crawl into our little shell, and concern ourselves only with what we're doing, we'll lose that preeminence, and some power hostile to our way of life will come to the fore.

The other thing is that it's not just American groups who spend all their time hyperventilating about American atrocities (or mild inconveniences). It's international groups, and foreign groups as well. They certainly don't restrict themselves to complaining about their own governments. Why must Americans alone do so?

That "we should focus on America" line is an old Chomskyite canard, usually engaged in by folks that are uncritical of their ideological kindred; it's exposed by the fact that these people will engage in criticism of foreign countries, as long as they're opponents of Leftist ideology (and especially if those foreign countries are allied with America). They just are uninterested in the misbehavior of those who are on their side, ideologically.

(So this canard is really misleading, considering that the "Citizens of the World" who use it often identify more with certain foreign countries than they do with AmeriKKKa, so they're not REALLY criticizing their own. They're just creating an excuse for a double-standard.)

So, for example, when the REAL "Blood for Oil" is on the hands of the Russian and French governments, for example, well, that's just uninteresting. . .

Guys like InFilling demonstrate their complete lack of concern for moral categories when they start making the comparisons they do. What matters foremost is hatred for Western Civilization and especially America, with absurd claims about how uniquely muderous we are (and absolutely no ability to distinguish between behaviors). As with Chomsky, they are quick to make comparisons with Hitler and the NAZIs.

This, of course, is rubbish, but rubbish of a particular sort.

Kevin Drum may really really hate to see this discussed, but that's the usual reaction of someone who'd rather see a certain problem ignored than dealt with and faced up to. It's not really arguable that there is a rather significant and vocal segment of the Left that is hostile to what this country is, that would like to see it transformed (at best) into something unlike what it is, and replaced with something else.

Problem is, Kevin, I've read far too much and seen far to much and heard far to much to accept the self-deluding falsehood that this doesn't exist or is (as some others claim) "tiny". It's not. Folks like you will have to stop pretending it is - because only folks like you will really be able to solve it, by doing more to confront your fellows who are like this (if the "Decent Left", to use Michael Walzer's phrase, spent half as much time confronting the indecent Left as they did asserting that they were sick of seeing conservatives bring this stuff up, then the problem would be half way to being solved).

Infilling,
The U.S. has killed more than Pol Pot? Stalin?

As for 'getting excited about Mugabe', Zimbabweans say something publicly against their ruler, they get jailed or killed. You can say practically whatever you damn well please on U.S. soil. And we're amoral?

Are suggesting moral equivalence between our democracy and the 'Marxist, Leninist and Leftist buffoons', that they are not morally inferior?

I'm going to add one thing to my previous comment that ties it all together:

Kevin Drum's reaction shows that the idea that the Left is really about self-critique (and that is the reason they criticise our country) cannot be true. Self-reflection of this kind is one of the things that is notably lacking in broad swaths of the Left today; and Kevin's post is reflective of that.

(Plus, Drum, your comment is rather contemptable - it sets up a straw-man "you guys should quit pretending that anyone who favors a more moderate use of American power hates their country." - Joe isn't writing about "anyone who favors a more moderate use" of American power, it's contemptable for you to misrepresent his words or those of anyone else in such a way. Indeed, that's one of the things that makes it so frustrating to try and have a civil discussion with most people on the Left - their all-too-ready willingness to distort out of recognition what we write or say, and turn it into some kind of ad hominem).

InFilling,

This is exactly the concepts the article was referring to.

In 1940's Germany it was obvious the citizens of Germany had no intention of stopping Hitler. That left two choices, outside intervention (regime change) or compliance. The attitude that US should have only been concerned with its own actions are what lead to the rampant expansion of Nazi Germany in the first place.

So you dont like Bush as President. I dont see bands of Republican hit squads roming the country killing Democrates, alla Mugabe style. Mugabe as also killed more pople in the last year than the US has in the last 10. This with the US just finishing a major war in Iraq. If you also include the starvation Mugabe is directly responsible for, the number of deaths could exceed 6 million. So ya, it is important.

Yes responsibility starts with your actions. Sometimes, fulfillment of your responsibilities requires an intervention in your neighbors actions.

You guys claim that liberals hate American and then complain about the problems of having a civil discussion?

Wow.

Both the left and the right in the US have their extremists and their nutballs, granted. However, the right has done a much better job over the last 15 years or so of rejecting and marginalizing theirs, while the left has done far too little of this.

Examples abound on the right, but Pat Buchanan is probably the best. He was well connected, highly visible, appealed to a not insignificant subset of the Republican Party, but when he went off the rails into nativism, he was read out of the Party without a backward glance.

On the left, however, the old "no enemies on the left" credo still seems to have hold. When the left gladly makes use of Stalinist organizations like ANSWER, with little if any vocal repudiation of their ideals, then it should not be shocked if people begin to regard it as anti-American. Further, many of the left's spokespeople never have anything positive to say about "Amerikka," and these same spokespeople are not repudiated by Democrats or liberals, so Dems or liberals should not be shocked if the hard left's views are attributed to them.

The liberals and the Dems must purge the loonies from their ranks, or the loonies will become the face, if not the substance, of liberalism. Until this happens, it is not unreasonable to expect those outside of the movement to be extremely skeptical of those who are apparently willing to consort with blatantly anti-American organizations and individuals for political advantage.

Mass murder and genocides are always atrocities, no matter who commits them. Actions should be taken to prevent these atrocities.

However, I don't think expecting 'more' from the US implies a hatred of America. There was recently a story about the imprisonment of some Chinese students for holding political talks. This is outrageous. But if it had happened in the US, people would go berzerk. It would be on the front of every news paper.

From the Right's perspective, which would they consider more offensive: a total ban on hand guns at home, or the fact such laws already exist in many countries?

I don't hate America. I think that foreign dictators should be help responsible for violations of human rights. I do expect better behavior from the US government than foreign regimes, I think everyone does. Isn't this the land of the free? Shouldn't we strive for a high moral standard?

-Mike Siegel

Mike Siegel says:

"However, I don't think expecting 'more' from the US implies a hatred of America. There was recently a story about the imprisonment of some Chinese students for holding political talks. This is outrageous. But if it had happened in the US, people would go berzerk. It would be on the front of every news paper."

Exactly. But this is exactly the point that the Left fails to acknowledge, at least in the sense that it shows the preferability (I'll even say "superiority") of the US system. If you expect more of the US, isn't that because the US is, in fact, better than Communist China? But the Left wants it both ways - it wants to criticize the US without acknowledging that in most other countries the situation is far worse. In fact, those countries happen to have political and economic systems favored by the Left. Defending or ignoring Chinese human rights abuses while criticizing far less egregious problems in the US (all the while making ludicrous comparisons of Bush to Hitler) seems like prima facie evidence of "America-hating" to me.

"The liberals and the Dems must purge the loonies from their ranks, or the loonies will become the face, if not the substance, of liberalism."

Yeah, otherwise they'll end up like the religious right and the Republican Party. We all know how people turned away from them in droves as soon as the lunatics took over. ;)

As always, a sharp, smart comments section. I'm going to focus on Kevin, since the other stuff has been dealt with.

KD: "Are you suggesting that we should stop criticizing our own government and our own actions? Or only that we should criticize anyone who betrays our ideals?"

Pretty clearly #2, and shown so by example. I'll tighten it a bit to make that even clearer. Amidst InFilling's inspired effort to prove my points by example, one good point is made: "Responsibility starts at home."

It just doesn't end there.

KD: "you guys should quit pretending that anyone who favors a more moderate use of American power hates their country. It's contemptible."

You're reading something into this article that just isn't there.

KD: "Dean: it kinda strikes me that the right has just as much cynicism and contempt towards American culture as the left. They just have it towards different aspects of our culture."

There's some truth to that. Conservatism always has the temptataion to fall into the Euro-conservative tendency of "it's all going to hell, there's nothing worth saving, best just enjoy the inevitable decline (or worse, join a militia)." When it does - and this has happened before - it too tends to cut itself off from the mainstream body politic and become much less effective. For the same reasons Walzer describes for the Left.

See - it isn't so hard to face stuff like that.

Fortunately, the post-9/11 national reaction surprised and quieted many of these conseratives outside of Buchanan's circle. That would still make an interesting and valuable article... but it won't help the Left deal with its own, real, problem.

KD: "You guys claim that liberals hate American and then complain about the problems of having a civil discussion?"

You're evading a clear argument: that a very specific meme, one I've heard way beyond the far left (in your blog's comments section, in fact, was the first place I saw it and had the light go on), inelecutably leads toward a position that can only become excited about evil in America, while giving others a clear pass. That this meme is highly corrosive in numerous ways, and hurts both liberals' political standing and the body politic of which they are a part. That removal of this meme and sharp, sustained criticism of it from within could do much to restore liberal fortunes and shore up their philosophy's foundation in America.

Compare that argument to your characterization (and Yglesias' equally energetic evasion on his blog), and yes, we do have an issue with civil discussion between reasonable people.

As has been pointed out here by others, some liberals clearly DO hate America. It's so bad that even people on the Left are pointing it out, it's damaging the liberal side badly (note poll gaps of 20-30%+ on national security issues), and as I've shown here there is a particlar meme that's responsible for a good deal of the problem.

Whether you like it or hate the discussion is irrelevant. As long as this meme continues to operate in wide swathes of the lib-left coalition, the logical consequences apply (ask yourself: "Why do they hate us? Distrust/accuse us so often that I'm tired of it? Could we have done something to provoke them or foster these perceptions?"). The Right may have an albatross meme or 2 of their own, and if you want to write about that, great. That would be a big help to them. Doesn't solve your side's problem, though, does it?

Mike S.

I think it's entirely reasonable to expect more of liberal democracies than despotisms. And Kevin, no one (here) is saying that we should stop criticizing the actions of our governments.

What befuddles the conservative/libertarian hawks, I think, is the single-entry bookkeeping practiced by many on the Left, whose rhetoric implies that America is the only actor on the world stage. No one else seems to have the capacity for independent action -- if someone does something terrible, it can usually be construed to be America's fault, somehow.

Thus, in the Cold War, the bellicosity of the USSR and other members of the ComIntern were simply defensive reactions to American aggression. The atrocities and abuses committed by Fidel Castro's government, to the present day, can be laid at the feet of the American embargo, or somesuch. The North Koreans wouldn't be attempting to get nuclear weapons if we hadn't posed an existential threat to their government. The atrocities of the Khmer Rouge were a direct result of US policy in Southeast Asia. Because the US once gave tacit and some material support to Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, America is reponsible for the abuses he committed thereafter. For that matter, the rise of Khomeini was due to US support for the Shah. US support of Afghan resistance against the Soviet invasion was the major factor in the rise of the Taliban. The squalor and despair in the Palestinian Authority is a direct result of America's support for Israel. The WTC attacks were initially held by some to be a reaction to America's opting out of Kyoto and/or refusal to sit still and be harangued at the Durban conference on whatever-it-was. Or to US-led globalization. And it goes on. Virtually anything bad done by anyone anywhere can be laid at the feet of the US.

See, not only do conservatives and libertarians think it's ludicrous to compare the world's leading democracy unfavourably with retrograde despotisms, we also believe that people are responsible for the choices they make. That's why the vision held by so many Leftists -- a world in which individuals and governments are mere automatons, forced into murder, war, and terrorism by American provocation -- is so deeply strange to us. Pol Pot CHOSE to embark upon a campaign of mass murder. Stalin CHOSE to do ... well, all the things he did. Fidel Castro CHOSE to suppress free speech, imprison dissidents, and impoverish his country. Khomeini CHOSE to establish a bloodthirsty theocracy in Iran. And Saddam Hussein CHOSE to invade neighbouring countries, use chemical weapons on internal opposition, and turn his own country into a charnel-house.

And no, I'm not arguing that America is entirely blameless, or that some American actions haven't had terrible consequences. And yes, Augusto Pinochet CHOSE to commit the abuses he did, with tacit American support. But I believe that America has also been, on balance, a great positive presence in the world. If more people on the Left recognized the good America does in the world as well as the bad, we wouldn't have to have these discussions.

Kevin Drum distortively wrote:

"You guys claim that liberals hate American and then complain about the problems of having a civil discussion?"

Once again, you demonstrate your compleat inability to take an argument on its face, and instead substitute this straw man; I for one never said "Liberals" (all Liberals) hate America. But it's obvious that quite a few Leftists do - more than a tolken number, more than an insignificant amount of Leftists do. Indeed, I for one never mentioned "Liberal" at all in this context, nor did I even say "all Liberals", nor did Joe (who approvingly referenced the remarks of Dissent editor and Leftist Michael Walzer).

But to avoid grappling with that, you continue to absolutely distort what is written and said, and you're the good person in your own mind for doing so, I'm sure.

Its bovine fecal matter and, indeed, I'd say you're an example of "Bad Philosophy" at work; this is the romanticized view of things (Kevin Drum defends the Left from sweeping generalizations, incorrect ones, launched by the Evil Right Wing on innocents) that you have to fit everything into in order for your world-view to be sustained.

Fact is, what went on the last year plus, was not a situation where Conservatives harassed anyone who "favored a more moderate use of American power" - quite the contrary, and either you're ignorant, or you're pretending not to know it out of some sort of animus or need, so as to preserve your ideological illusions.

In this very thread, though, there are examples of folks comparing the U.S. to fascism or Maoist murder, who are clearly uninterested in "a more moderate use" of American power, but simply hostile to America as such. So one had and has people who are effectively the propaganda arm of world fascism (which I always thought the Left opposed) by directing all sorts of misrepresentations and falaciously invidious accusations at free market democracies, such as America.

Your position is akin to those anti-anti-Communists, who were opposed confronting those dictatorships and their many admirers, and in your efforts you (apparently) will find no distortion of your opponents (mine, or Joes, for example) too unacceptable to commit.

Joe:

"Fortunately, the post-9/11 national reaction surprised and quieted many of these conseratives outside of Buchanan's circle."

I'm not sure what you mean by this. "Buchanan's circle" has been very much aligned with the anti-war left, and he's been very vocal in attacking the "neo conservative warmongerers and imperialists".

Did you mean "inside" instead of "outside"?

This thing about the 'Religious Right' really gets to me. Whenever I challenge a Lefty who sounds that buzz-phrase to 'show' that the GOP is full of extremists, the answer is usually "Jerry Falwell!!" as if that explains everything - sort of reminds me of the "Enron!!" episode. Exactly what is lunatic about the 'Religious Right'?

What laws have the 'Religious Right' tried to have passed since they became a fully fledged in the GOP? The Legalization of Anti-Gay Discrimination Act? The Women Belong In The Home Act? The Banning of Divorce Act? Have they actually tried to ban the existence of all other religions in the United States?

So exactly what is lunatic/extreme/just plain wrong about the 'Religious Right'?

The problem is perception. The right sees the left as misguided. The left sees the right as evil. It is the moral indignation of the left that prevents civil discussion. There are many on the right who behave uncivilly, but it is difficult to find anyone on the left who does not take every political discussion personally.
Perhaps my ideas are evil, but you're going to have to persuade me of that, not just attack.

Robert asks: "I'm not sure what you mean by this. "Buchanan's circle" has been very much aligned with the anti-war left, and he's been very vocal in attacking the "neo conservative warmongerers and imperialists"."

Yes. In his case, he still sees America as going to hell in a handbasket. Immigration, multiculturalism, and now backstabbing Jews uh, neoconservatives are hijacking America's foreign policy. Fill in gloomy Marvin the Paranoid Android rant here, woe is us... and so the togetherness, heroism, and basic decency we saw post 9/11 rolled off of those conservatives like water off a duck's back.

Many other conservatives, however, paused, thought about it, and began to say things to the effect of "you know, we have our issues but this is still America, and this new generation, they're pretty good." It kind of took out some of the memes they were poisoning themselves with during the Clinton years.

Mr. Knight, my answer to your question is the Religious Right, if given the opportunity, would generally like to impose it's view of morality on the nation through legislation. Social conservatives are fine until they try to regulate private behavior.

Of course, this also goes for the Left and it's attempts to regulate the economic sphere, as well as the private sphere in some instances.

As to the main point of the discussion, I feel it is more important to hold everyone to a high moral standard and treat rights abuses with equal vehemence. Of course, since we all have limited time and resources, we can't always denounce every example of wrongful state action. Ditto for the media, who I think has a larger role in this than is being commented upon.

Regardless of political bias claims, it has to be acknowledged that the mainstream news media has a tendancy to downplay foreign human rights problems and inflate our own. This is natural simply because the audience is not overwhelmingly Sudanese, Belgian, or Korean...it's American and the assumption that we prefer to track and address our own problems is probably true. So I think some of us on both sides are coming into this with a mindset shaped by the things we read on a daily basis.

Since my country and my state (Texas) have the ability to affect me in a far greater capacity in both the short- and long-term timeframes, I feel like my attention is best spent on focusing on the local problems and keeping an eye on the rest of the world. I acknowledge the widespread problems elsewhere, but they honestly don't impact my life with the power our governments can bring. It's personal preference, but the standard is the same (to the best of my ability) across all nations and peoples.

Guys, I don't even know what you want me to respond to. You're just saying that liberals (or leftists, or many leftists, or whatever) hate America, but providing no evidence. You've got to give me something to respond to.

I have no doubt at all that there are some extreme lefties who are critical of all American use of military power, just as there are extreme righties who think we ought to make it illegal to be gay. But talking about the extreme 5% of the political spectrum is just dumb. Who cares about those people?

I'll be happy to respond if you can point to ordinary Democrats/liberals/leftists who have said things indicating that they hate America. Hell, you don't even have to go that far. There are lots of popular liberal blogs, so just find some stuff there.

Tell you what: why don't you collect quotes from liberal blogs in, say, the top 30 in Bear's ecosystem? If you can find a substantial amount of stuff to back up your contention, then I'll respond. But you've got to give me some meat to chew on.

"What laws have the 'Religious Right' tried to have passed since they became a fully fledged in the GOP? "

Off the top of my head I can think of a few:

Government-supported faith-based social engineering.
Various attempts to restrict abortion.
Various attempts to ban teaching evolution or install teaching creationism.
Attempts to legislate putting the 10 Commandments in government facilities, violating the establishment clause.
Vigorously opposing gay rights, sometimes taking the form of trying to pass laws banning in advance gay marriage or domestic partner legislation.
Attempts to regulate expressions of violence and sex in entertainment media.

Most of these haven't passed, but it's not for want of trying. I'm sure others in this thread can think of more.

BTW it's great to see people calling Kevin on his vacuous and evasive debate style and over-simplification and mis-representation of other people's arguments. I don't visit his blog anymore because it's like eating cotton candy - there's no there there.

"If you expect more of the US, isn't that because the US is, in fact, better than Communist China? But the Left wants it both ways - it wants to criticize the US without acknowledging that in most other countries the situation is far worse." --Bruce

While you do find Stalin apologists on the far Left, I don't think this is representitive. Any political movement has its extremist whackos.

I think a lot of us on the 'sane' Left want to know why China gets a "most favored" trade status with us. No sane individual is advocating waging war on China to free Tibet. We seem to ignore Saudi Arabia's oppressive regime and the fact that most of the 9/11 hi-jackers were Saudis.

The Right claims "moral clarity" but the US has often followed a relativistic policy of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". Neither Fidel nor Batista was a fit leader or a decent human being. Both the Left and the Right seem to blame one and ignore the other.

-Mike Siegel


"...if you're an American, it should be your responsibility to expose US crimes and conflicts of interest, not Russia's. Unlike the latter, you can, at least in theory, do something about the former."

This excuse is ages-old, for "excuse" is exactly what it is. It's an open declaration that one will only see evil in America

There is nothing in the statement you quote that says the author will limit what he/she complains about to America, or that he will only find fault with America. Your "only" is totally inaccurate.

You might find this helpful.

-c

I've often heard it said that the right has Christianity while the left has Liberalism.

This article on Huntington makes some excellent points on this topic.

Jeez, Judith, one or two posts saying I don't like Ariel Sharon and I'm vacuous and evasive? Goodness.

Anything in particular you think I'm evasive about? I'd say I'm pretty direct about my opinions.

Whoa there. What straw man?

The original quote was:

"...if you're an American, it should be your responsibility to expose US crimes and conflicts of interest, not Russia's. Unlike the latter, you can, at least in theory, do something about the former."

It is perfectly reasonable to interpret this as:

Since we cannot influence Russia's [or by implication, anyone else's] behaviour, we should not spend time exposing them -- time that would be more productively spent exposing [putative] "US crimes and conflicts of interests."

Your responsibility as a citizen of the US is apparently to expose its evils, and not waste time on anyone else's. I thought it was pretty clear, myself. Perhaps the author of the original quote would care to clear this up?

Whoa there. What straw man?

It's an open declaration that one will only see evil in America

upon further consideration, i see that i'm reading that sentence as: "It's an open declaration that one will only see evil in America" or maybe "It's an open declaration that one will only see evil in America". Joe probably meant the emphasis to be on "in America". My mistake - though one easily made, considering the tone of the rest of the piece.

Yehudit:
"Attempts to regulate expressions of violence and sex in entertainment media."

Whoah there. Since when was Tipper Gore part of the Religious Right?

I'm no fan of the Religious Right, but you can't blame them solely for this.

"Your responsibility as a citizen of the US is apparently to expose its evils, and not waste time on anyone else's. I thought it was pretty clear, myself. Perhaps the author of the original quote would care to clear this up?"

So if I'm following the logic right, if (as seems to be the case from the polls) the vocal lunatic fringe of the Left is damaging the Left's credibility, the appropriate course of action for the Left is...[rereads Drum]...to deny the problem exists and declare that evil conservatives are persecuting them. What was that again about solving the problems in one's own backyard and not wasting time on things you can't change?

"But talking about the extreme 5% of the political spectrum is just dumb."

It's far more than that; the problem is, you have your head buried in the sand, apparently - unable to see the world around you (in the very circles you run in). Hey, I ran in those circles myself: this is a case of "who am I supposed to believe - Kevin Drum, or my lyin eyes?"

There are bumper stickers, comments every day in coffee shops, at magazine stands, even super-market checkout lines (one doesn't try to overhear other people's conversations, but one does whether one wants to or not). There are prominent Dems consistently comparing their opponents to NAZIs - it's not just some "fringe element" in protests (that in other contexts we're told are massive mobilizations of the Left).

If you want more evidence, I refer you to the archives of my Blog. If you want me to spoon-feed you links, well, you need to excersise a little initiative yourself. You'll even find a link in there from within the last month, approvingly linking to one of Richard Cohen's (no conservative, he) columns, wherin he fingers this same problem (and he didn't, and neither does Michael Walzer, think this is some sort of "tiny" problem for that side of the political spectrum).

As for the constant harping on the Buchananites and their ilk, well it's a demonstration of the distinction I made in my initial post: if decent Leftists (and Liberals) would do what decent conservatives did, and take efforts themselves to marginalize the Hate-America fringe on the Right, rather than making common cause with them and rising (as you have here) to defend them as part of the movement (and accuse anyone on the right who's critical of them of being critical of the entire set of Liberals or the entire set of the Left - which speaks, IMO, to the still-remaining "No Enemies on the Left" mindset of the Left as a whole).

There have been long pieces, not just recently but over the years, in magazines like National Review and the sort, identifying disreputable "conservatives" and calling them out on it. The same is true of generally "conservative" Blogs (though even moreso; "conservative" blogs have been most critical of so-called "conservatives" of the sort that have been mentioned here) From the Left, though, the reaction tends to be along the lines of your comments here: misrepresenting the critique made by folks like Joe and myself, deliberately (it doesn't seem to be unintentionaly) generalizing it even when it was rather careful (one looks at, say, Joe's post and my comments, and see's a clear distinction between varieties of people on the Left - a distinction that absolutely disapears in your mischaracterization of them).

So we get from even the supposed "decent" Left a indifference to those among them who are rather openly hostile about the country and its institutions, and (especially) their political opponents (to the point that it's often fairly clear that, if they had their way, this would be a one party state if they ever got the opportunity) - again, you want examples, I refer you to my archives as a start (they only scratch the surface), but the reason this persists, and the sort of people organizing rallies & protests and acting as if they were spokesmen for the Left generally get away with it because folks like yourself, who might otherwise take back their own movement (and thus creating a "Decent Left" again), instead join not in criticizing such extremism (as you yourself term it), but in condemning the criticism of it and saying it shouldn't be bothered with (well, people do bother with the obligatory condemnations of Buchanan et al, and of Falwell).

Indeed, one of the things that makes Armed Liberal so refreshing is he cleaves to his principles - all of them - and doesn't play that game. (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, did it in one memorable book, "The Disuniting of America", but the reaction he received among the circles he runs in was apparently so harsh that he went back to toeing the line).

Indeed, if one looks at the folks who are painted as "Neoconservatives", many of them started out as Scoop Jackson Democrats who spoke and wrote openly about the extremists among what they, at the time, still considered their own political movement: people like Jeanie Kirkpatrick and even Paul Wolfowitz, among a vast number of others. The reaction to them was about as your reaction here (that they were "contemptable" for finding some among the Left to be worthy of criticism), and were, essentially, excommunicated ("Neoconservative" being a term invented by their enemies to describe them) for their heresy. So this is an old problem. (and, yah, we Right Wingers so hate and loathe all Liberals and paint them all with such a broad brush, that they were accepted into the conservative movement and Republican party, and those - like the Buchannanites - who refused to accept them were the ones that we disassociated ourselves from; Being one of these Refugees from Liberalism myself, I know how conservatives are on this score, btw).

Or another example: Harrold Bloom is often seen as a "conservative" by the ignorant, because of his criticism of some varieties of academic, cultural, and intellectual Leftism. But the man is a self-described Socialist who never voted for a Republican and never would. So, like the recent writings of Christopher Hitchens, Bloom finds more admirers on the Right than among the "See No Evil on the Left" Liberals to whom one might more naturally expect his critiques to appeal to.

But mentioning all this is, of course, "contemptable". These things simply shouldn't be examined, or even said.

I could go on, but time is short. In closing, though, if you know of no examples of these things, it's not because they don't exist, nor it is because they haven't been linked to and discussed when they appear on Leftist blogs and websites by Conservatives (only to have each example, no matter how numerous they are, in turn dismissed as isolated). It's because you don't want to know. Indeed, I shouldn't toot my own Blog's horn so much - one can check out a variety of conservative blogs and see countless examples over the last - well, how long have Blogs been around? (But, then, your position apparently is: on the one hand, you're sick of seeing so many such posts, but on the other you need to be presented with more examples of them). Samizdata, a Libertarian (rather than conservative) site is another who's archives can be plumbed for countless examples of this sort of thing in action.

They are blind, who will not see, and all that.

Uh, Ted, as long as you don't think those are my views. I was paraphrasing an argument that I think is ridiculous and immoral. Otherwise, I agree with you entirely.

But it's possible that my viewpoint is skewed. I work at a very Left Coast Canadian university, and the place is suffused with delusionary anti-Americanism. The media milieu in Canada leans largely towards our purported moral superiority vis-a-vis the US -- nation of peacekeepers, universal substandard healthcare, monstrous regional redistributionism, knee-jerk internationalism etc. It sounds like Europe is similar, as is my homeland of Australia. And large segments of the chattering classes up here do subscribe to the notion that America is the primary thing wrong with the world over the last half-century. Maybe these people are a tiny minority in the US, as Kevin asserts, but I sure seem to hear and read a lot from them -- on the letters page, in the op-eds of the Globe and Mail, in alternative weeklies, on CBC Radio, on NPR, and all over the internet. Do they hate America? I don't know, but I do know that they blame America whenever they can find the slightest pretext for doing so.

Personally, I happen to like reading Calpundit. So, it's worth going back to the argument.

KD: "...you can point to ordinary Democrats/liberals/leftists who have said things indicating that they hate America."

I do point to one, who made his statement very clearly. Even more clearly now that ChrisL has helpfully pointed out how it could be misread - I just italicized it so it won't be.

But Kevin, my point is NOT that all of even most Democrats hate America. Let's take that off the table, it doesn't belong there.

To reiterate:

I'm arguing that a very specific "can't do anything about..." meme, one I've heard way beyond the far left, inelecutably leads toward a position that can only become excited about evil in America, while giving others a clear pass. [ALERT: not logically equal to hating America, though in extreme forms it could become that]

I'm argiung that this meme is highly corrosive in numerous ways, and hurts both liberals' political standing and the body politic of which they are a part (q.v. Walzer, Havel, Shalala, Bloom, 25-40% security poll gaps, et. al.). Finally, I'm arguing that removal of this meme and sharp, sustained criticism of it from within the lib-left could do much to restore liberal fortunes and shore up their philosophy's foundation in America.

Is that clearer?

I was reluctant to use this example, because I'm really not into draging relatives into these things. But I have a sister who lives in New York and is in the theater community, and a mother who lives near me and is in the education community.

So they still run in broadly Liberal-Left circles. My mother's been a Democrat all her life, and a Liberal. She still considers herself a Liberal, but she voted for Bush in the last election, and supported the war. When political topics come up, she's been screamed at by her friends (not just one of them), who talk about the country being a dictatorship and launch into rambling tirades about the evils of the country.

My sister has encountered similar experiences with the people she works with and has befriended in New York, whenever the topic of politics has come up (my sister is, I would say, moderate and mostly apolitical but does have some views and doesn't think ill of the country - which is what gets her in trouble).

As I mentioned, I've had my own experiences - and mostly in a completely different State from the one I live in now.

This is not a minor, or isolated thing at all. I don't say it's everyone, or even a majority. But these are fairly typical, average people I'm talking about here (not simply a handfull of aging Marxists mimeographing issues of some newsletter or something). Right now I live in Southwest Colorado, which is about as far from the enclaves of "notorious Leftism" one can get. And there's hardly a day of the week that this attitude isn't encountered, in some form or another.

It's not rare.

(Oh, and just to be clear: I'm not talking of simple anti-Republican, anti-conservative animus here. I'm talking things that make it clear that the premise, the "given", is that this country is unique not in a positive way, but uniquely aweful, uniquely corrupt, uniquely wicked, uniquely murderous, etc. etc.)

And we see that, again, in this thread. Indeed, there's hardly a comment thread (be it on Leftist, Liberal, or Conservative sites) where this isn't a commonly found aspect of comment threads (I've seen it in message boards for games).

It's not rare (nor is this "dissent" "suppressed" - it's right out there. That's one reason why I have to express disbelief at the idea that Kevin is unaware of examples of this and needs to have someone show some to him. Pick a board and start talking politics or history).

Porph: the DLC has been railing against the extreme left for years and years. They're doing the same thing that the GOP leadership did to Buchanan. And pissed off liberals ranting against Bush is not the same thing as believing that America is evil. It's just pissed off liberals ranting against Bush.

No party will ever succeed in purging all of its extremists. But if we get into a pissing contest about whose extremists are worse, it gets pretty ugly pretty fast.

I've posted several times on my site that Dems need to have a more muscular foreign policy. That's a subject I'm happy to talk about. But America being evil? Nah.

"No party will ever succeed in purging all of its extremists. But if we get into a pissing contest about whose extremists are worse, it gets pretty ugly pretty fast."

...Or leads into some good arguments in favour of space colonization. I often think it would be poetic justice to send them all out on the same ship.

"(I've seen it in message boards for games)"

Ditto. I've seen a mailing list dedicated to a wargame turn into a flame war over the "evil" of the US.

Scary, that.

BTW -- I'll give credit where it's due. It was EXTREMELY good to see Cynthia McKinney and her father run out of office. That she lost in the primary was especially heartening.

Ah yes, the old "your party's extremist ideologues are more dangerous than our party's extremist ideologues" argument (I'm sorry, "meme").

It seems that a week can't go by without somebody on the right trying to explain why the left needs to turn in on itself (who was it who used the delightful word "purge?") and eat their own until they start sounding more like good conservatives.

Another deadly "meme" is the idea that the government (provided it isn't helmed by a Clinton) is so deserving of our unqualified trust and support that we must refrain from criticizing it if there exist other, worse regimes elsewhere in the world, because really, who wants to aspire to anything more than being the lesser of multiple evils? Somebody once called that attitude "unpatriotic and servile," but that was probably just some old America-hating Chomskyite scumbag.

There are some common themes that recur in liberal (or leftist) and conservative thought, both in the extremes and in the 'mainstream'. Some of them are:

- The government is out to enslave us all (anti-government leftists and anti-government right-wing, militia-inclined types)
- The difference between us and them is that we tolerate different viewpoints, but you have to sign up on the party line to be on their side (a frequent sentiment on both right- and left- leaning blogs when a "troll" appears in the comments)

And of course

- Your party's extremist ideologues are more dangerous than our party's extremist ideologues (espoused by the "reasonable" people on the other side of the aisle)

I don't have the time to do a detailed study, but I think there are probably many more examples where partisan political ideologies, if stripped of the overtly partisan terms ("Democrat", "Republican", "right", "left", etc) are in fact nearly identical, the only difference being Team A or Team B.

Right you are, Clue. Somebody up above pointed out the fact that the right "hates America" just as much as the left -- but what they "hate" about America is different from what the left "hates" about America. If I had to make a glib categorization, I would say that the left's disapproval is usually aimed at American policy (foreign and domestic), while the right often trains its guns on American culture.

Of course, the right usually blames the degradation of American culture on "the Hollywood left," which I suppose makes it, in their eyes, criticism of something that is not and never can be identified with anything truly "American;" but by the same logic, liberals often claim that the policies they criticize are those which run counter to our country's founding ideals of freedom and equality, and are therefore "un-American" despite being endorsed by the current American government. So, in reality, neither side is attacking "America," they're attacking ideas, values, and actions that they don't approve of -- and good God, what on Earth is wrong with that?

Any criticism, left or right, is perfectly valid if you can make a sensible case for it. But to say that "your form/angle of criticism is morally unacceptable to me and my like-minded brethren; therefore we do not have to listen to or consider a word of it" is as ridiculous as it is intellectually dishonest.

I'm gonna second Porphyrogenitus' recent comments. The level of hysteria coming from certain corners of the left is sky high and rising. I can't really speak to whether Republicans who have serious points of difference try to oust each other from the Party. Maybe another reader can enlighten us there. What I can say is that zealots on the Left are ever vigilant for signs of independent thinking (it is ALWAYS punished) and that such guardians of the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" are eager to show the door these days to anyone who does not agree that Bush=Hitler and the Iraq War was a greater evil than the Holocaust. At a recent dinner party in my own home I was informed by friends that I was no longer a Democrat (?!) because of my support for the War and Bush's policies in the War on Terror. It hardly matters who carries the party's banner in November; the blood is flowing at the grassroots level.

And just to add a little personal insight into the larger battle du jour. In my doctoral history program Americanists far outweighed "third world historians" like myself and Europeanists combined. And apart from a few colleagues who studied a bit of African or Caribbean history to round out their knowledge of the slave trade, none of the Americanists took a secondary field in a foreign region. They simply didn't care. Thus friends called me a "Southeast Asian historian" when I am a South Asianist (yes, there's a huge difference). The point is, don't assume the smart critic of American foreign policy has a clue what anyone else is up to. And no, Kevin, it can't just be attributed to our greater ability to influence the local over the global. Chalk it up to sheer laziness.

Clio: ...such guardians of the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" are eager to show the door these days to anyone who does not agree that Bush=Hitler and the Iraq War was a greater evil than the Holocaust.

Case in point: Maybe I never got the memo because I'm not a registered Democrat, but who the hell actually thinks that the Iraq war was worse than the Holocaust or that Bush equals Hitler? Certainly not the gatekeepers at the DLC. If anybody believes that kind of lunacy, it's either the anti-Semitic America-hating IndyMedia leftist fringe, or the anti-Semitic America-hating FreeRepublic rightist fringe. To plaster this on "Democrats" is as absurd as it would be to apply it to "Republicans".

Obviously both "views" have a hates America group. The right's hate America group (militia groups) don't end up getting major face time. When was the last time you saw a militia group given face time as a representative of the right? When they do manage to get press, the right readily disavows them.

Chomskey, who clearly fits this category, has been given television time, newspaper space, magazine space, etc. This is not the wisest of political moves. Especially right after 9/11. How many on the left spoke out against his ideas? Better yet, how many from the left spoke out against the whole "understand the root causes" idea? Anybody whose grown up in a tough neighborhood will tell you, answer that question after the fight not during it.

If the majority of the "left", had said. "We appreciate your view, but you don't represent our position." This would not even be an issue. Silence has been equated with agreement.

Personal Note: I dislike Chomskey's politics.

Sorry, but what's wrong with the "understand the root causes" idea? Keeping the question seperate from the answer you're likely to get from some quarters, don't you think it's a worthwhile question to ask? And, since this fight may go on for years, whatever the root causes are, it seems prudent to devote some resources to figuring them out and addressing them before the next big fight.

Chomskey, who clearly fits this category, has been given television time, newspaper space, magazine space, etc. This is not the wisest of political moves.

Excuse me, but what are "mainstream liberals" supposed to do about that? Leave a severed donkey's head in Chomsky's bed for him to wake up to?

By the way, next time Chomsky is scheduled for a TV appearance, please drop me a line; I've managed to miss every single one of them so far.

Better yet, how many from the left spoke out against the whole "understand the root causes" idea?

Probably not very many, because it's a widely-held left-wing belief that understanding and addressing the "root causes" is absolutely critical to preventing terrorism. Note that you can go out and drop bombs on current, active terrorists while simultaneously taking steps to ensure that you aren't breeding generations of future terrorists.

If the majority of the "left", had said. "We appreciate your view, but you don't represent our position." This would not even be an issue. Silence has been equated with agreement.

Well, I didn't hear the "right" disavow Jerry Falwell's remarks that atheists, feminists, and homosexuals were responsible for 9/11, and yet I am somehow able to accept that this does not necessarily mean that they endorse his viewpoint.

Once again, this boils down to "your party should be arguing with itself, not with our party." Just another way of evading a substantive debate.

I'll start with a somewhat controversial proposition. When it comes to foreign policy -- and foreign policy only -- the majority of the "right" is in the political mainstream of the US, and the fringes of the right are becoming ever more isolated into obscure little camps. Imagining the "left" is perhaps more difficult than imagining the right because the left has so many facets. For starters, there's the intellectual left, which I would identify as Chomsky, Said, much of The Nation readership, most university professors and nearly all self-described left-wing authors. They are absolutely the kind of people who Joe is talking about in his post, the people who literally hate America first.

After them comes the Social Democratic/liberal left, people who see America not as a contagion but as an experiment in governance, people who still lionize the New Dealers, and have faith in the ability of government to do anything, given enough time and resources. I'd place Matt Yglesias, Thomas Friedman, and many other mainstream liberals in this category. For the most part, Joe's criticisms can apply to this cohort only in the sense that they hate American unilateralism and favor multilateral responses to a fault, which sometimes seems to suggest that America must be "wrong" if no one is standing by her.

Yet another facet of the left is the bureaucratic left; those self-styled progressives who still dominate in the State Department and many other government agencies. They tend to be philosophically shallow careerists, having spent most of their life in foreign service, and draw upon both the intellectual left and the Social Democratic left for their political inspiration. One thinks of Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, and the like (though not Sandy Berger, who is a Social Democrat). As far as foreign policy is concerned, these people form the bulk of the Democratic Party's brain trust, and they are often fond of making apologies for America.

Finally, you have Democrats, who are not always liberal and are even less likely to self-identify as "left," but who generally vote Democrat out of tradition, or because they hold a disfavorable view of business, believe the Republican Party to be racially insensitive, or because they have fond memories of government activism in years past.

In short, Joe's criticisms are best reserved for the intellectual left and those members of the bureaucratic left who put the programs of the intellectual left into action. From my readings, most Social Democrat/liberals aren't guilty of Ameri-skepticism/hatred in the same manner as the extreme left, but they are unduly credulous about the benefits of multilateralism. Rank and file Democrats, on the other hand, tend to be very positive about America and even bellicose in their foreign policy beliefs. How else are we to explain Bush's poll numbers? There aren't that many Republicans out there!

One lady I knew worked as a secretary for a Colonial Bank executive. One day she received a notice from the IRS, demanding that her boss pay $2.2 million in taxes; apparently he hadn't filed a single tax return for over thirty years. She phoned the IRS, to ask if they would like to set up an appointment with her boss, and they responded that they weren't interested in her boss. They wanted HER to pay the money that her boss owed, and threatened to have her jailed if she didn't.

She asked why they were demanding the money from her instead of her boss, and the reply was, "Because he won't return our calls."

Same mentality as Chomsky's, really. I still think of it as a fine example of typical bureaucratic idiocy.

How fortuitous that Winds Of Change should be addressing this subject at this moment!

I just received a long note from a reader, a self-described Truman liberal, in response to "Why Don't The Dogs Like It?" Here's a snippet from its most significant section:

BEGIN CITATION:

As the sense of [liberal] direction was lost, people became bogged down in what can be now called "entitlement politics" and "political correctness," petty turf wars of no interest to any but those willing to stay late at meetings and argue that stuff.

As to liberal social approaches to social problems working - they did, when they were done for the benefit of the country. An excellent example is the Tennessee Valley Authority. Were it not for the TVA, most Southern Republicans would still be too poor to be Republicans. That was a perfect example of how "a rising tide floats all boats."

END CITATION.

Note the conjunction of opposite moral / emotional assumptions! In the first part, my correspondent nods, grudgingly, to the ethical deterioration that propelled the Left's descent into special-interest politics. In the second ("too poor to be Republicans"), he implies the major demonic canard the Left relies on in its rhetoric today: that conservatives / Republicans are concerned solely with protecting their own wealth and status.

Now, what relevance has this for the central question here, concerning Leftist willingness to criticize America but unwillingness to criticize vicious, tyrannical regimes in other countries? Simply this: Moral self-elevation, when exercised from a minority position, is almost always accompanied by myopia. One's self-concept as "morally superior" demands focus on nearby enemies, else the contrast is lost. This tendency is strengthened when combined with a quest for political power.

I'll spare you my theories about how this comes to be.

There where two major problems with "understand the root causes." idea. The first, was the concept that the "root causes" where some how entirly the Untied States'. Thus resolving the the terrorist of all responsibility. The second problem was concept that nothing should be done until the "root causes" where determined. All action should wait till this point. No one has a problem with trying to figure out motivation. This was not the intent of the "root cause" meme.

Chomesky has not been given television time lately. After 9/11 he had an inordinate amount of national press time. More so, considering he is a linguistics professor.

As for countering Chomeskies public positions. Much of his press time during this period was due to the popularity of his positions among the extreme left. All it would have been necessary is for a popular figure on the left to pubicly, and in a timely maner, speak out agianst them. This did not happen and is the silence I am refurring to. It caused the entire left to be associated with these extremist positions. The I hate America position.

As for Fawell. Excluding the purly religious digs (alla against Muhammad) there are plenty of examples of the right speaking out against him. Sometimes I wonder if the right wing politicians use this as an opportunity to appear more moderate.

FYI: Chomsky himself will have a THREE HOUR juggernaut performance live on Book-TV (I believe that's C-SPAN 2) tomorrow, Sunday, June 1st from noon-3 EST. Check those times before sitting down with your bowl of popcorn, would you, I don't fully trust my memory.

I live in MA. I have yet to see a liberal Democrat that doesn't hate America. Because of this, I will not consider voting for a Democrat for any office. Sorry, but until some pro-America Democrats emerge, that's the way it is.

The liberals who claim that they only complain about American shortfalls because they/we can't do anything about other countries' even worse failings are putting us on.
See what happens when somebody suggests we as a nation try to do something within our power about other countries' shortcomings or evils.
The question is not what happens when we can't do anything.
The question is what this group of liberals says when it looks as if we 1, have the capacity, and 2, are about to try.
Given the logic of their position--which is false, an excuse--they should then applaud the US' attempts at fixing something "over there."
Clearly, they do not. In fact, they scream.
From which it is easy to deduce their position that they only complain about us because they/we can only do something about us is a lie.

I think that there are two things going on here, which tend to put the majority of democrats who don't hate America in a bit of a double bind. On one hand, I think there is a legitimate problem with radical lefties hating America. Whether or not they are worse or more entrenched than radical righties is a discussion for another time. At the same time, though, the current administration, and the Republican party have worked very hard to wrap themselves in the flag and paint anyone who opposes them as anti-american. (Of course the Democrats didn't hurt those efforts by failing to forcefully present clear and viable alternatives to the administration's policies.) What Democrats need to do is disavow Chomskyites and their brethren, but in an environment where they are all constantly being accused of anti-Americanism, admitting the problem seems to be a concession that the Democratic party as a whole is anti-American.

Of course the other problem is that the left lacks a centralized power structure to repudiate these people from. The DLC does what it can, but ultimately they can't be cast out of the establishment if there is no establishment to be cast out of. It will be interesting to see what happens come primary time, when there actually is a centralization of power and (equally importantly) media time.

The obsessive focus on the sins of one's own country has been effectively dissected by C S Lewis. See my article "Repent Now" at:

http://photoncourier.blogspot.com/2003_03_01_photoncourier_archive.html#90746525

Damn. I missed this entire exchange started by one of my comments.

My responses are in the actual thread in question.

As a life-long democrat in Florida (yikes!), I have been truly appalled by the machinations of the Democratic party. I am even more appalled by the presidential candidates. If these are the best the Democratic party can offer, it is time for me to switch parties.

The way I see it that the Democrats as a party did not go through the same process as the British Labor party went through after Margaret Thatcher won the election in 1979. It took the Labour party almost 20 years until they got back into power, during those years they drifted to the left, chose unelectable candidates, etc. Until Tony Blair reformed the party , purged it from the fringe left (Tony Benn and his ilk), renamed the party name to be the New Labour etc. The American Democratic Party would not get back into power until they go through the same process.

It seems to me that the old guard (The Labour wing of The Labour party ) is going to make a come back, if so they will lose the next election.

I'm a liberal.

I love America. Which is why I am troubled that the Bush administration has disgraced our country by starting a war.

The Bush administration and America are two different things. I seem to recall Republicans protesting every action of the Clinton administration.

I think that this talk about "liberals hating America" is a smokescreen. Bush lied. Americans died. Rather than come to terms with their complicity with the needless deaths of American troops they blow up a drama about how criticism of the war is tantamount to support of Stalin.

Bush lied. Americans died.

Bush, Rumsfeld and Powell got quoted out of context, and statements by others, some outside the government, have been attributed to them. The Iraqi WMD program appears to have been less successful than Saddam Hussein led the world to belief, but we have solid evidence that there was such a program and good reason to believe that some of their inventory was recklessly dumped into the environment. We also have solid evidence linking the Iraqi regime to international terror (and no, that doesn't have to meal Al Qaeda to count). A handful of Americans died, and few Iraqi civilians were killed, other than by falling Iraqi ordinance.

Tell me. Do you believe that because then-Governor Bush declined to add a symbolic slap on the wrist to a death penalty, that he somehow approved of the pickup truck lynching?

I have a challenge to Mr. Katzman, but I'm confident enough to where I can extend it to most of you.

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. George Orwell
"Notes on Nationalism", 1945

Prove this quote wrong, not by offering an argument, but by your actions. Go through the archives of each of your respective weblogs, or in Mr. Katzman's case, go through winds of change.net's archives, and give us a reasonable ratio of the times you've criticized or exposed the crimes of a US client state or ally, as well as highlighting US involvement in the crime and the US parties benefitting from the crime, compared to time you spent making similar criticism of a competitor of the US.

My guess is it is less than a one to twenty ratio.

How many times have you questioned US business profiting off of serious human rights violations? I’m not sure, but perhaps you think that United Fruit's ‘right’ to run a banana republic in Guatemala was saved because the first democratic government in Guatemala was coincidentally overthrown in a CIA supported coup circa 1954, and its supporters were coincidentally murdered in a policy of genocide carried out by Guatemalan soldiers, who were just coincidentally armed and trained by the US. Or perhaps it was another coincidence when Iranian parliament tried to nationalize British owned oil and the Iranian government was violently overthrown and replaced with the Shah of Iran who, according to Amnesty International, was the leading human rights violator of the era, along with his SAVAK police forces trained and armed by the CIA. The Shah ran the country for 25 years as an ally of the United States, until he was overthrown around the same year Saddam Hussein coincidentally used chemical weapons against Iran with US economic and diplomatic relations in good standing… this justified by the fact that Iran no longer wanted to live under US supported dictatorship, so their lives weren’t important enough to consider asking one of our clients to, uhh, kindly not use Chemical Weapons on them.

So I start with the 50’s, and we can come up with a lot of other similar crimes in other places on the globe. My guess is that we can learn a sad little of them in the archives of winds of change.net. That's unfortunate, because unlike Pol Pot, Henry Kissinger is still quite active and influential politically. His rap sheet includes bombing Cambodia and murdering thousands of civilians while US intellectuals looked the other way, authorizing Suharto's invasion of East Timor which resulted in genocidal levels of killing, again, with US intellectuals looking the other way, and supporting a coup in Chile which brought a Fascist dictatorship to power...

In fact, if I remember correctly, that happened on... September, was it the tenth? No.. it was the eleventh. September 11th, 1973. Now I remember!

Funny, if I recall corectly Kissinger almost landed a job investigating the 9/11 terrorist attacks thanks to his good friend George W. Bush. Clever George sure thinks of nice anniversary gifts! *

Anyway....That the US has had involvement in serious human rights abuses is a matter of public record, and not really something there is much debate about, either, so if your argument is going to be that we haven’t, I’d advise reading some of your own government’s documents. Here are links to some government documents at the George Washington University's National Security Archive

  • I wasn't sure if I should have used Kissinger's role in investigating 9/11 or John Pointdexter of Iran Contra fame being appointed over the agency that would monitor all of our email,phone, and web activity. I think Kissinger was more effective, tying one 9/11 terrorist attack with another, and all.

So I start with the 50’s, and we can come up with a lot of other similar crimes in other places on the globe. My guess is that we can learn a sad little of them in the archives of winds of change.net.
I sincerely doubt Winds of Change.net was around in the 50s. Just an fyi.

Also, this is a blog, not an archive of the past century's many horrors. Indeed, no one here has even argued that the US has a spotless human rights record. You will be hard-pressed to find even one nation not splattered with blood. What has been argued however is that when examining human rights records around the world a disproportionate amount of the blame is placed on the US. We're a scapegoat in many ways. It is also the omnipotence/impotence divide: do something and you're an imperialist murderer, don't do something and you're an impotent as well as selfish imperialist murderer. I myself am a liberal and will even admit this is true.

Interesting that you bring up impotence and disproporationate blame...

Why shouldn't we take the power for somebody to do something into consideration when examining their actions? Certainly we ought to ask less of a small group of people than we should a country that spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined.

Individually speaking, the US government probably doesn't, itself, have a very spotty human rights record, at least relatively speaking. Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Turkey, and Indonesia, have awful human rights records, but another interesting statistic is that they're some of the leading recipients of arms and gfunding from the United States, which needs to be taken into consideration. So the US isn't violating human rights directly, but it wasn't always Nazis putting Jews in the Gas Chambers, it was other Jews... that doesn't mean we shouldn't hold the people who had them do it accountable.

Jonathan, you've made your mindset abundantly clear, both in this thread and in the other. America as major force for evil in the world, while excuses or evasions are the order of the day for regimes like North Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge. It is the very essence of the INdecent, Chomskyite left. I don't accept or respect "challenges" from that perspective, any more than I'd pay attention to a "challenge" from the leader of the Aryan Nation wondering why I don't devote enough coverage to the evils of the Jews.

About the only things we seem to agree on are that the Saudis need to go, and the Indonesians are not to be trusted.

Winds of Change.NET will continue to cover events from the eclectic perspectives our readers have come to expect: international events, liberty, science, cultural spiritual wisdom and trends from many different perspectives. We will not make phony efforts to "balance" equal coverage of America's evil's with the rest of the world's, but will pursue our own sense of the stories that are important wherever that leads us. Those who want to see a different kind of coverage or a very different perspective are welcome to suggest items to us, or write well-argued guest blog pieces for consideration... or to start their own blog.

Very mature and decent, Mr. Katzman. I didn't expect you'd take the "challenge". Your writings are morally bankrupt, obedient and unquestioning of something unjust, anti-humanity, and anti-liberty. In the logo of your website, it would seem you're making use of a little doublethink. Impressive.

We agree that Indonesia can't be trusted, as well as the Saudis. Or in other words, we agree that they're some of the leading violators of human rights on the planet. However, you lack the decency and intellectual honesty, maybe even the courage, to talk about the involvement of our government, whose leaders you elect and whose salaries you pay. You refuse to talk about WHY the US (illegaly) spends billions of taxpayer dollars propping up regimes such as these, and how US corporations profit from it.

You choose to not give information to Americans, who can then take that information and make somebody's life better because of it. And then compare me to a racist. Again, impressive. Model decency.

(If I'm wrong, change your mind, accept the challenge, and prove it.)

"I could never again raise my voice against the violence ... without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government." Martin Luther King
"Beyond Vietnam", 1967

He must have been another America Hater, that Martin Luther King, realizing and being able to honestly discuss the fact that the US is the largest exporter of arms to human rights violators across the globe. Wish he would have been more "decent" according to your standards, Mr Katzman.

It blows my mind when people's response to any sort of criticism or analysis of our country's less-than-honorable actions, past or present, is to say "there you go again, calling America evil and letting all these other bad countries off the hook. Well, I'm not listening..."

This is truly indecent, because it is this attitude that will allow America to drift further and further away from its ideals, further and further towards something that will, one day, no longer be worthy of our admiration and pride.

If you love your country, shouldn't you want to hold it to high standards? Shouldn't you understand that by taking an honest look at our missteps, you aren't casting aspersions on America as a nation, or as a concept, but on the decisions of the people who, at the time, were in charge of the government? Can't you make that distinction?

I'm an American, I love my country, and you'd better believe I'm going to focus on what my government has done wrong in the past and what is doing wrong now. I want my country to live up to its ideals and be something I can always be proud of.

Don't you dare tell me there's anything "indecent" about that.

The 'root cause' is either the big bang or the creation. Now that I've identified it for you, can we go on? Or had you a plan for working on either of these?

"A handful of Americans died, and few Iraqi civilians were killed, other than by falling Iraqi ordinance."

That's the amazing thing to me about people who support the war. They talk about "supporting the troops." But the lives of American soldiers are cheap to them. Absolutely disposable in fact.

Here are some of the lies by the major liars as cited by today's Washington Post.

On Aug. 26, 2002, Vice President Cheney told the VFW National Convention: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

On Sept. 12, 2002, Bush told the U.N. General Assembly: "United Nations inspections also revealed that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons."

On Dec. 2, 2002, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Hussein would be "misleading the world" if he denied having the banned weapons. A month later, on Jan. 9, Fleischer asserted: "We know for a fact that there are weapons there."

In Bush's State of the Union address on Jan. 28, he cited evidence that Hussein had enough materials to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin and as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agents.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in the same speech to the U.N. on Feb. 5 in which he discussed evidence of the mobile weapons labs Bush referred to last week, argued: "We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, he's determined to make more."

A month later, on March 7, Powell told the United Nations that Hussein has "clearly not" made a decision to "disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction."

In his Feb. 8 radio address, the president asserted: "We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."

On March 30 on ABC News's "This Week," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said of the prohibited weapons: "We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

I was asked a question:

"Tell me. Do you believe that because then-Governor Bush declined to add a symbolic slap on the wrist to a death penalty, that he somehow approved of the pickup truck lynching?"

No. This is just more daydreaming to avoid responsibility for your complicity in killing American soldiers.

The United States of America has done some truly horrendous things in its past.

The United States of America has done some truly heroic things.

Both statements are absolutely true. For some reason, there are individuals that are only willing to acknowledge the truth of the first statement. Unfortunatly, these individuals are unwilling or unable to apply the same set of standards to the actions of other countries. They demand a level of perfection that is humanly unattainable. This, while simultaneously justifying the horrendous actions of others. Even when these actions are current rather than historical. All this while refusing to acknowledge any current good deeds or good intent on the part of the United States.

It is this double standard that has become associated with the ideologies of the left. This needs to be addressed.

This is truly amazing to me. I live in MA, right near Boston. I worked in Bob Reich's campaign for gov here, I've worked with many peace and justice groups, as well as health care and other "leftist" causes. I have yet to find one person who "hates" America.

I have found many people who want to IMPROVE America. I've found people who want America to stop supporting "allies" that have horrible human rights records (objectivley pro-boiling, anyone?). I've found people who hate the fact that large corporations have spent the past decade escaping paying taxes. Or people who hate the fact that the CEOs of large tabacco corps went up and lied before congress. I've even found people who hate the fact that the Iraqi death toll is higher then the death toll from the 9/11 WTC terrorism.

I've also found people who work at places like "Seeds of Peace," who believe that ending terrorism will happen through understanding, not through bombing. I've found people who volunteer for "food not bombs," who believe that the gov't spends far too much on military needs, and not enough on domestic needs.

There are a few, a very few left leaning intellectual who tend to see bad things happening where ever America steps in. Of course, just to cite one example, a few days after Tianamen Square, Henry Kissinger was writing about how we should ignore gross human rights violations becuase, well, China is a great business oppertunity... and then going to China five months later with AIG to negotiate expanded business there. So maybe they don't "hate America," maybe they hate betrayals of the core American values of human dignity and poltical freedom by those who are supposed to treasure it most?

A little late, but here it is anyway:

Matthew:

What if there really ARE that many Republicans in the US?

These are the kinds of things that do grate on my nerves. "I've even found people who hate the fact that the Iraqi death toll is higher then the death toll from the 9/11 WTC terrorism"

First of all, I've seen no factual evidence to back this claim up, anymore than I've seen evidence to support the Iraqi information ministry's claim of a million dead from sanctions or that hair-brained notion that 100,000 Iraqi soldiers died during the first Gulf War.

Secondly, S. Hussein axed about (very roughly) half a million of his own countrymen. That breaks down to, what, an average of roughly 20,000 per year. The most recent war killed approximately one tenth as many people as Hussein manages to wax in a year.

When you folks who start telling me that the war shouldn't have been fought because it hurt Iraqi civilians seem to be quite content with Iraqi civilians being killed by Iraqis, I become confused. Heaven ever forbid that thousands of Iraqis get killed and hundreds of thousands are saved.

What special kind of madness is this that makes it alright to kill Christians who are killing Muslems (Kosovo), looks for "root causes" apologies for Muslims killing Christians (9/11), or simply nods with approval whem Muslims kill Jews and Christians (suicide bombers) and then finds it despicable that the Christians kill Muslims in order to prevent more Muslims slaughtering each other?

Is there some sort of "Get Out of Perdition Free" card that Muslims are given when they kill each other? Are the brown people of the world to be exonerated if they whack each other right, left and center, but we're the bastards if, in the process of stopping wholesale slaughter, some people die?

Tell me it isn't so. Tell me about the marches to protest the human rights abuses in Sudan. Tell me about the recent clamor to get the US involved in the Congo. Or at least refresh my memory about how we stepped in the middle of the Rwanda genocide. Tell me about how you're not going to get involved in the moral calculus of saying 5 Iraqi civilians killed by US troops is an even match for 50 or 500 killed by Iraqi soldiers. And then square that with the Kosovo war.

Excellent posts, excellent thread. I'll come back and read more of it.

In the meantime, keep up the good work. There's a 'war on shoddy thinking and bad philosophy' to be won, by Americans of all shades and hues.

We can win it, too. Don't need many eye openers...

The left's excuse? Let's hear more about the right's excuse: to label everybody who disagrees with them a liberal, whether they are or not.

Our forefathers were liberal compared to the average amerinazi. That's why we have a Bill of Rights. The same Bill of Rights, by the way, the amerinazis have been trying to get rid of with their so-called War on Drugs and War on Terrorism.

Let's talk about how unbiased the CIA and the military intelligence are. If those amerinazis were honorable and above board we wouldn't have to hear about Merican brutality from third parties. But then they work for big business. They view human life as a commodity. What a great day it will be when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ crushes all of you wolves in sheeps' clothing.

In Jesus Christ's Glorious and Holy name,
Dean Berry -- REAL American

Leave a comment

Here are some quick tips for adding simple Textile formatting to your comments, though you can also use proper HTML tags:

*This* puts text in bold.

_This_ puts text in italics.

bq. This "bq." at the beginning of a paragraph, flush with the left hand side and with a space after it, is the code to indent one paragraph of text as a block quote.

To add a live URL, "Text to display":http://windsofchange.net/ (no spaces between) will show up as Text to display. Always use this for links - otherwise you will screw up the columns on our main blog page.




Recent Comments
  • TM Lutas: Jobs' formula was simple enough. Passionately care about your users, read more
  • sabinesgreenp.myopenid.com: Just seeing the green community in action makes me confident read more
  • Glen Wishard: Jobs was on the losing end of competition many times, read more
  • Chris M: Thanks for the great post, Joe ... linked it on read more
  • Joe Katzman: Collect them all! Though the French would be upset about read more
  • Glen Wishard: Now all the Saudis need is a division's worth of read more
  • mark buehner: Its one thing to accept the Iranians as an ally read more
  • J Aguilar: Saudis were around here (Spain) a year ago trying the read more
  • Fred: Good point, brutality didn't work terribly well for the Russians read more
  • mark buehner: Certainly plausible but there are plenty of examples of that read more
  • Fred: They have no need to project power but have the read more
  • mark buehner: Good stuff here. The only caveat is that a nuclear read more
  • Ian C.: OK... Here's the problem. Perceived relevance. When it was 'Weapons read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Chris, If there were some way to do all these read more
  • Chris M: Marcus Vitruvius, I'm surprised by your comments. You're quite right, read more
The Winds Crew
Town Founder: Left-Hand Man: Other Winds Marshals
  • 'AMac', aka. Marshal Festus (AMac@...)
  • Robin "Straight Shooter" Burk
  • 'Cicero', aka. The Quiet Man (cicero@...)
  • David Blue (david.blue@...)
  • 'Lewy14', aka. Marshal Leroy (lewy14@...)
  • 'Nortius Maximus', aka. Big Tuna (nortius.maximus@...)
Other Regulars Semi-Active: Posting Affiliates Emeritus:
Winds Blogroll
Author Archives
Categories
Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en