Tuesday :: Mar 24, 2009

Greenwald On Liberal Dissent


by Turkana

Glenn Greenwald finds comfort in liberal dissent:

It’s certainly true that one has no difficulty finding cult-like liberal veneration for Obama – those who invoke Bible-like "he’s-a-master-of-11-dimensional-chess" clichés to justify whatever he does (the Lord works in mysterious ways but even when we don't understand what He does, we Trust that He is Supremely Good and more Wise than us and knows best); who declare, in Bush-like "with-me-or-against-me" fashion, all critics of Obama to be the Enemy; who pay homage to Kim Jong Il-like imagery such as this and this; who believe that "trust" -- a sentiment appropriate for family and friends but not political leaders -- should be vested in Obama and thus negate any concerns over how he exercises power.  Some overly-eager journalists and bloggers are devoted to carrying forth the administration's message (usually delivered anonymously) in exchange for favorable treatment and/our due to a painfully excessive sense of devotion, and there's a Democratic establishment with a built-in machinery to defend Obama no matter what he does.

But outside of those anonymity-granting blogger/journalists and Democratic apparatchiks, these drooling, worshipful, subservient sentiments are largely confined to the fringes.  With some exceptions, to find this right-wing-replicating blind loyalty to the Leader, one has to search blog comment sections and obscure diarists.  Many -- arguably most -- of the most vocal liberal Bush critics have kept their critical faculties engaged and have been unwilling to sacrifice their political values and principles at the altar of partisan loyalty.

It should be emphasized that mere criticism for its own sake is also not a virtue.  Those who reflexively and blindly criticize whatever Obama does (based on the immovable, all-consuming conviction that he is intrinsically Evil) are nothing more than the opposite side of the same mindless coin as those who reflexively and blindly praise whatever Obama does (based on the immovable, all-consuming conviction that he is intrinsically Good). Pre-ordained, overarching judgments of Obama that are detached from his actions and grounded in Manichean caricatures are irrational in equal measure, whether that judgment yields praise or condemnation.

A rational citizen, by definition, praises and supports political leaders only when they do the right thing (regardless of motive), and criticizes and opposes them when they don’t.  It's just that simple.  Cheerleading for someone because they're on "your team" is appropriate for a sporting event, not for political matters.  Political leaders deserve support only to the extent that their actions, on a case-by-case basis, merit that support, and that has largely been the behavior of progressives towards Obama.

Turkana :: 2:58 PM :: Comments (37) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!