Puppy Training Supplies Courtesy the WSJ
From the Opinion Journal The Liberals' War: Why is the left afraid to face up to the threat of radical Islam? By Brett Stephens
Usually I try and just let this kind of nonsense pass realizing that it panders to a certain unthinking crowd that will just accept it without giving it a second thought. But for some, as yet, unexplainable masochistic impulse I decided to take a closer look.
Here's a puzzle: Why is it so frequently the case that the people who have the most at stake in the battle against Islamic extremism and the most to lose when Islamism gains--namely, liberals--are typically the most reluctant to fight it?
This opening paragraph left me going WTF. Why do liberals have more at stake? Certainly liberals don’t enjoy any more freedoms than anyone else. Islamic extremists have shown no proclivity of attacking liberals as opposed to conservatives. So what’s the point? Is it a strawman? I’ll take a stab at this in a moment.
This may be reading too much into Ms. Newman's essay.
I love this kind of nonsense, since it’s basically saying “yeah we are interpreting this in a self-serving way, out of context, but we’re going ahead anyway”.
Yet after 9/11 at least a few old-time voices on the left--Christopher Hitchens, Bruce Bawer, Paul Berman and Ron Rosenbaum, among others--understood that what Islamism most threatened wasn't just America generally, but precisely the values that modern liberalism had done so much to promote and protect for the past 40 years: civil rights, gay rights, feminism, privacy rights, reproductive choice, sexual freedom, the right to worship as one chooses, the right not to worship at all.
Lets look at the second part of this quote. Here I see some progress for the right. They are finally admitting in public and in writing that it is liberals who fight for personal freedom. And by implication, it is the right who doesn’t or does so with much less enthusiasm.
Now lets get to the crux.
An instinct for pacifism surely goes some way toward explaining the left's curious unwillingness to sign up for a war to defend its core values.
This statement is breathtaking in the magnitude of the logical jump one has to make to accept this at face value. Exactly how are the Islamic extremists going to undo the freedoms that the liberals have fought for? Exactly how are they going to force us to re-segregate the south, or impinge on the other rights that Mr Stephens listed? The irony in him mentioning privacy rights is priceless, although I suspect it was lost on him. Certainly for the Islamic extremists to actually and directly cause an abrogation of the liberties, would imply that they would somehow take over the US government. Clearly this is ludicrous on its face. What the Islamic extremists are capable of doing is to inflict fear, by the threat of more terrorist attacks. But the Bush administration has assured us we are now safer than we were.
Since Mr. Stephens as admitted to his relatively diminished interest in promoting liberties, I would like to offer an alternative explanation. The liberals, who are much savvier with respect to liberties, realize full well that the threat to our liberties and, in particular, to those mentioned by Mr. Stephens are not from Islamic extremists, but to the right wing administration whose leader sees the Constitution as a damn piece of paper. I mean how can we take seriously the musing on liberties by someone who admits that his side isn’t that interested in them. Just maybe the liberals who have fought the hardest for personal liberties have it right. It is the so-called “conservatives” who are exploiting the fear of future terrorist attack to restrict the liberties of Americans, employ torture, and spy on Americans. So unless the Islamic extremists hijack our government how will we lose the personal freedoms Mr Stephens lists? Is he suggesting that they are capable of defeating the US on its own soil?
From there, Mr Stephens article degenerates into a piece unworthy of a mid-level Conservative blog. We have the perfunctory reference to appeasement that is so last week. And of course what would a conservative based article on liberals be without a thinly veiled attempt to equate Islamism [having already made it clear that Islam is evil] and liberalism.
This is thin gruel indeed. Unfortunately I don’t have a puppy to train.