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Liberal Bashing

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by Marni Soupcoff
Iconoclast Associate Editor

According to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, a liberal is someone broad-minded who is not bound by authoritarianism or orthodoxy. Ah, brings to mind benevolent images of the ever-tolerant Paul Begala, doesn't it?

Did someone say open-minded, independent, and understanding? Must be talking about that moderate James Carville -- when he's not interrupting, berating, and screaming at people who disagree with him, that is.

You see, Begala and Carville are liberals in not the dictionary sense but the political sense. They are liberals: leftists who are known as liberal, but are really dogmatically rigid about imposing their interventionist views on everyone else. Luckily, not all liberals are as frightening to look at as Begala and Carville. That's an unfortunate coincidence. But most liberals do share the paradoxically small-minded Begala and Carville traits: they want to severely restrict individual freedom in almost every realm. They have no tolerance for dissent. And their favorite weapon is a most illiberal one: if you don't believe what they believe, they label you "morally bankrupt." Or "evil." Or "Pat Buchanan." [Cue creepy music.]

Sadly, liberals have shown themselves at their least liberal when it comes to speech, the very means of intellectual expression and debate you'd think a liberal would cherish. For example, over the past twenty years, liberal American universities have adopted stiflingly restrictive speech codes in the name of multiculturalism and tolerance and generally shown themselves to be incapable of abiding departures from the prevailing liberal orthodoxy. Hence, Duke University recently shut down a faculty member's web site because the guy dared to support taking powerful military action against terrorism.

Meanwhile, feminist liberals blow a gender-neutral gasket when you suggest a look back at history to inform a discussion. For one thing, they insist on calling the past herstory, which inevitably holds up the debate while everyone stops to giggle. When talking resumes, feminist liberals label any appeals to the wisdom of dead white males misogyny (just because the people happen to be pale, male, and dead folk) and start objecting to terms such as seminal as being phallocentric, which just makes everyone uncomfortable. But more seriously, liberal feminists pride themselves on their efforts to silence dissenting opinions. NOW has been on a "Flush Rush" campaign to have conservative Rush Limbaugh thrown off the air since at least 1995 simply because they don't like what he has to say.

Luckily the most radical phase of the political correctness revolution of the 1980's and 90's seems to have passed -- at least in the real world, if not on college campuses where respectable conservative speakers are still regularly shouted down rather than rationally questioned or debated. But the general liberal tendency to try to stifle dissenting voices is, unfortunately, still with us. Hence the paradox: the same liberals who support affirmative action in the name of creating diversity and reaping the benefits of an infusion of different perspectives are the most vicious and unthinkingly personal attackers of people who hold divergent views about racial preferences. (And, if I may shamelessly plug my alma mater here, nowhere is this truer than at Stanford Law School. So, stop asking me for money, Stanford, it's payback time. You're not getting a penny.)

The truth is that when it comes to most spheres of life, liberals simply cannot stand liberty. It sounds good and all, but too often it gets in the way of having things the way they want them.

Take the issue of school vouchers as an illustration. You'd think that liberals, those supposedly broad-minded fellows, would be all for the idea of allowing families the autonomy of choosing their kids' schools. But they're not: The pesky families keep choosing the wrong places. Vouchers get used at private religious schools where the kids wear uniforms, the discipline is strict, and nary a lesson is taught about the exploitation of the poor or about the benefits of multiculturalism. The poor, multicultural voucher beneficiaries are too busy doing things like learning to read and do math. Which is most un-cool to liberals, who would prefer to see kids forced into public schools where they can spend their days undergoing sensitivity training and learning valuable life skills like Chicano interpretive dance. And so, liberals take it as their duty, not only to oppose school choice, but also to vehemently attack its proponents and label them racist.

The obvious question then becomes, given this record of intolerance and narrow-mindedness, how do liberals get away with calling themselves liberals? Easy. They come out like gangbusters for freedom in a few areas where it matters little or can even do a lot of harm.

You see, liberals may not value liberty when it comes to speech, school, economics, property, self-defense, or the environment; but mention sex or drugs, and you've suddenly got a band of freedom fighters on your hands. Liberals will ardently defend and even promote the inhalation of banned substances and sexual experimentation until the cows (and, for that matter, sheep) come home. Which is all fine and well. I consider myself a libertarian and personally advocate the legalization, if not the moral sanctioning, of prostitution and drugs. But the point is that there's something a little off with a political movement that values a person's right to smoke a doobie over his freedom of political and intellectual expression. Unless that person happens to be a Palestinian or other perpetrator of jihad, that is, in which case liberals so value his freedom of expression that they believe it encompasses the right to blow people up on buses and public streets.

Because if there's one thing liberals really are liberal about, it's the right to hate America, the West, and the Judeo-Christian ideals they stand for. Which brings us to the liberal oath about liberty: "I will defend to the death your rights to pleasures of the flesh and to hate republican notions of freedom. Otherwise, my morally bankrupt evil buddy, you're on your own."

Marni Soupcoff is an attorney, Toronto-based journalist and Associate Editor of Iconoclast.ca. She is a regular columnist for American Enterprise Online. This article originally appeared on the American Enterprise Online Web site.


Re: Liberal Bashing

Heh heh. Ignorance is not an excuse for such mediocre student level ranting. About as iconoclastic as a wet towel. Marni - you should get out more. Where does America find these people - Stepford maybe?

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