For them, name-calling and dismissing the views of your fellow citizens out of hand are the tactics of the mob. Liberals once incarnated reason and civility. John Locke, liberalism's father, held that "the right improvement and exercise of our reason. Liberalism's most prominent nineteenth-century spokesman, John Stuart Mill, gave canonical expression to the notion that the reasoned, civil exchange of ideas is how we get at the truth.
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And the great twentieth-century liberal thinker Lionel Trilling, whose profound writings emanate an urbane civility that is at the furthest remove from name-calling, invoked the words of one of his own teachers as the true liberal ethic—"the moral obligation to be intelligent. Tellingly, little of his work remains in print. I n recent public discussion, liberals haven't engaged in much reasoned argument with conservatives or shown much civility toward them.
Consider, for instance, how today's left—from mainstream Democratic politicians to far-out radicals—has conducted itself in the debate over affirmative action. Conservatives argue that racial preferences for blacks contravene the basic American ideal that all people should be treated equally under the law—the ideal that inspired the original civil rights movement. Moreover, racial preferences penalize non-blacks who have committed no wrong, conservatives say, and they end up harming blacks by demoralizing and stigmatizing them as somehow in need of special help to get ahead. You might disagree with these ideas, but they're principled, coherent, and democratic.
Yet liberals merely dismiss them, and those who hold them, as racist. A couple of years ago, for example, then-vice president Al Gore gave a speech to an NAACP convention that perfectly embodies the typical liberal response to criticism of racial preferences. What can Gore be saying? That affirmative action's critics want to kill—blacks?
Not a week goes by without a prominent liberal stooping to this tactic. Out of hundreds of examples, a few drawn from the last half decade will have to suffice. President Clinton compared the promoters of the California Civil Rights Initiative—the ultimately successful ballot measure banning discrimination on the basis of race or sex in state programs—with segregationists.
Christopher Edley, a Harvard law professor who served as President Clinton's key advisor on race, referred to Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom's measured book America in Black and White as a "crime against humanity" for its anti-preferences stance. The late columnist Carl Rowen accused conservative opponents of affirmative action of "apoplectic spasms of bigotry"—as if Bill Bennett and Bull Connor were interchangeable. They may have traded in their sheets for suits, but it's the same old racism.
T oday's liberal left discovers racism not just behind opposition to racial preferences but behind most conservative ideas and policy recommendations. When the Newt Gingrich-led Republicans wanted to cut taxes and pursue welfare reform in the mid-nineties, the New York Times excoriated Gingrich for his "race-based, anger-charged politics" and compared him to southern segregationist George Wallace. Harlem's Democratic congressman Charles Rangel attacked Republican tax cuts as pure race hatred.
The truthful observation that some members of the underclass, because of their dysfunctional worldview, ignore the economic opportunities blossoming all around them. These charges, it's crucial to note, represent a significant expansion of the idea of racism. Racism once meant thinking about and treating members of a given race as essentially, biologically, inferior.
But such bigotry, as The End of Racism author Dinesh D'Souza points out, "has been morally discredited; few people admit to it. The new racism comes down to this: if you oppose the left's policies, on racial preferences or on anything else that affects blacks, you must be out to harm black Americans.
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The Democrats' campaign in January to derail the nomination of John Ashcroft as the nation's new attorney general drew freely on this expansive conception of racism, though liberals couched it in different rhetoric, saying that the former Missouri senator was "insensitive" toward blacks.
A related charge that conservatives often hear from liberals is that, whatever they might say, they're really mean-spirited white people whose goal is to make the rich richer at the expense of the poor, the black, and the helpless—especially kids. Such attacks reached a fever pitch after Republicans won the House of Representatives in But in the political rhetoric of today's liberals, fine distinctions often get lost.wedvasekurz.gq
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Such indictments exhibit neither the reflection nor the civility appropriate to a free society. And note that it's not just fired-up activists talking this way. It's the liberal, Democratic party mainstream: the president and vice president, the nation's paper of record, key presidential advisors, TV hosts, influential congressmen, and other top office holders. T he left's effort to push conservative opinions outside the realm of acceptable discourse takes on even greater force in cultural disagreements like the controversy over homosexuality.
For liberals, fighting for homosexual rights is the moral equivalent of the fight for civil rights for blacks, so that anyone who opposes, say, gay marriage or who supports the Boy Scouts' freedom not to hire homosexual scoutmasters is a bigot—end of story. But it's one thing to say that all men are created equal and quite another to hold that all forms of sexual behavior are morally equivalent.
The most conspicuous recent example of this effort to discredit conservative views on homosexual behavior is the campaign by gay activists to shut down Laura Schlessinger's Paramount-produced television show. Laura," an Orthodox Jew who accepts the biblical proscription of homosexual acts, contends that homosexuals have a right to "respect and kindness" but that homosexual sex is "deviant" behavior. Leading religious thinkers and moral philosophers have taken precisely that view for thousands of years; but that didn't stop gay activists from making Dr.
Laura out to be the "Queen of Hate Radio. Laura's TV show is still on the air, though it has suffered from weak ratings and will likely not be renewed. One further example. The Claremont Institute, a respected California-based conservative think tank, and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality set off an enormous controversy when they invited to a Los Angeles conference on the legal and medical status of homosexuality a group of conservative political thinkers and psychiatrists who don't accept the idea that homosexuality is genetically determined—a key tenet of homosexual-rights activists.
Without bothering to inquire, the Los Angeles City Council rushed to condemn the conference as an exercise in "defamation and demonization. L iberals claim that conservatives who criticize homosexual behavior as immoral or deviant create a "hostile climate" that leads to gay bashing. Shortly after the brutal murder of homosexual Matthew Shepard by actual gay-bashers, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek sought to blame all moral conservatives for the crime. If all Alter was saying is that conservatives should strive to be civil in making their arguments about homosexual behavior, then he'd find few serious conservative thinkers or politicians who'd disagree with him.
His real meaning, though, is that anyone espousing traditional views should just be quiet. Like most of today's left, Alter rejects Voltaire's famous dictum: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. The left's position on homosexuality is no longer about winning tolerance for it but about getting everyone to celebrate it as just one more perfectly normal sexual life-style.
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The easy assumptions Alter makes are illustrative: that conservative criticism of homosexual behavior is "degrading," for example, or that the moral teachings of, say, the Catholic Church, are "homophobic"—an expression of mental illness, in other words. Understanding of the Earth's carbon cycle is an urgent societal need as well as a Understanding of the Earth's carbon cycle is an urgent societal need as well as a challenging intellectual problem.
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Believing that life is better experienced with a soundtrack, he finds peace as a late-night deejay at the campus radio station. Through a random Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions. Glenn Ligon b. Much of his work relates to abstract cxpressionism and minimalist painting, remixing formal characteristics to highlight the cultural and social histories of the time, such Longtime sportswriter and baseball fan Stan Fischler goes beyond the generic sports tale, recounting the Covering teams from across the league, Fischler details the following feats, and Pulling your occasional Al Sharpton out of the Democratic pack is ludicrous, as Sharpton has never been elected to any political office in this nation, and therefore cannot be said to represent the body politic of the Democratic party.
Claim: Tax cuts--such as the Reagan and Bush tax cuts--cause budget deficits.
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Response: Tax cuts have increased tax revenues to the federal treasury. There are numerous rebuttals to this, but simply put during the 's we gradually were balancing our budget and working toward paying it off, and since then our deficit spending and resultant national debt has soared dramatically.
There is no juggling of the facts that can support a competing argument. Jackson's statement is categorically false. Response: Bush made the decision for going to war in Iraq based largely on findings of the UN and International Atomic Energy Agency weapons inspectors, as well as those of other governments.
This is also categorically false. I don't need Jackson's farrago of lies on the topic to contrast Bush's lies. No such program was running, and there were no weapons ever found that could have sufficed to induce us to attack. But despite the conclusions offered by Hans Blix, and the fact that Iraq was allowing inspectors into the country at the time prior to the war, bogus claims of Nigerian Yellowcake uranium were inserted into Bush's SOTU speech in Condoleeza Rice claimed that proof could come in the form of a "mushroom cloud.
Every member of the Bush cabinet who spoke regarding the war prior to its beginning was speaking out of the same playbook.
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