October 26, 2006


We Answer to the Name of Liberals: A response to Tony Judt, and a manifesto for liberals in the waning Bush era. (Bruce Ackerman and Todd Gitlin, 10.18.06, American Prospect)

As right-wing politicians and pundits call us stooges for Osama bin Laden, Tony Judt charges, in a widely discussed and heatedly debated essay in the London Review of Books, that American liberals -- without distinction -- have "acquiesced in President Bush's catastrophic foreign policy." Both claims are nonsense on stilts.

Clearly this is a moment for liberals to define ourselves. [...]

Make no mistake: We believe that the use of force can, at times, be justified. We supported the use of American force, together with our allies, in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. But war must remain a last resort.

This is a hilariously vapid "liberal manifesto"--the notion that the immediate attack on Afghanistan was a last resort but the enforcement of UN resolutions against Saddam after twelve years of violation wasn't is the sort of self-contradictory idea that only an intellectual could hold. But certainly the highlight of the exerrcise comes here:
Reason is indispensable to democratic self-government. This self-evident truth was a fundamental commitment of our Founding Fathers, who believed it was entirely compatible with every American's First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. When debating policy in the public square, our government should base its laws on grounds that can be accepted by people regardless of their religious beliefs.

One hardly need point out to normal Americans -- non-intellectuals -- that the self-evident truths of the Founders are a function of the faith of Abraham, not Reason.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 26, 2006 1:33 PM
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