web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Rubin Reports: American History Distorted – How Lawrence O’Donnell Unintentionally Shows Why Contemporary Leftist-Style “Liberalism” Is Wrong

Lawrence O'Donnell

Lawrence O'Donnell
Photo Credit: David Shankbone/Wikimedia

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/american-history-distorted-how-lawrence.html

The following statement from Lawrence O’Donnell is being widely circulated on the Internet. I’m sure that most of those who read it think these are self-evident truths about history proving that Republicans and conservatives are so obviously evil that the issue is beyond reasonable debate. Such credulity in the face of the current hegemonic narrative is an accurate sign of how American history has been taught to the current generation. It also shows us why we hear the equivalent of “the science is settled” on the difference between the two currently competing views of America.

“What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.”

This statement is well worth analyzing. Begin by noting that while this is supposedly a pro-liberal statement it is actually intended as a pro-Democratic Party statement. The message is by the “Anti-Republican Crusaders” directed explicitly against Republicans. The conflation of the accomplishments listed and the word liberal, on the one hand, and the presentation of Democratic Party as one creates considerable problems for his historical narrative.

As a side remark, I thought the word “Crusaders” was not PC. Weren’t the Crusaders supposedly aggressive, cruel bigots? What will O’Donnell’s radical Islamist allies think of this usage?

In addition, either O’Donnell doesn’t know much about American history or he thinks the American people don’t. Probably both parts of that statement are true.

I am still a registered Democrat but I’m also someone who tries to be an honest historian. The following analysis is academic – in the old sense of the word – and as balanced as I can make it.

O’Donnell’s list is the dominant narrative in America today. You will find it promoted in every mass media outlet and taught as the only possible interpretation of U.S. history in schools. How accurate is it? Well, that’s the third question that should be asked. The first two are:

–Why is it that Obama and the current radicals-pretending-to be liberals have to run on an old historical record rather than their own record in office and the current anti-liberal ideas they propound?

–Why is it that we should assume that the situation faced by America today is the same as it was in 1913 or 1933 or 1964? Perhaps more government and regulation was needed in those years but since we have had decades of more and more of these things isn’t it possible that we’ve had enough, in fact, far more than enough?

These are two questions most of the American people never see.

Let’s go through O’Donnell’s list:

–Liberals got women the right to vote. Of course, the main credit belongs to the women’s suffrage movement. But which ardent supporter of that movement first introduced the nineteenth amendment in Congress? Senator Aaron Sargent who was a—wait for it—Republican from California and a conservative. The legislatures of most of the state passing the amendment were also dominated by Republicans. This was not primarily a partisan or wider ideological issue at the time because many people held views which, in today’s context, would be considered quite contradictory.

–Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. That seem obvious but hold on and let’s look at the facts. The main opponents of civil rights were not Republicans but Southern Democrats. And since the Democratic party put its own interests above racial justice the party held back for many decades on this issue. President Woodrow Wilson was a particularly nasty racist. Most politically active African-Americans were Republicans. Only at the last moment did President Lyndon Johnson really turn around the Democratic Party and it changed course. Yet such people as Al Gore’s father and the powerful ex-Klan leader Robert Byrd continued to oppose civil rights. Liberals and Democrats deserve credit for what they did but they did far less than they claim.

I also seem to recall Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves and Republicans creating Reconstruction while the Democrats were the party of secession, surrender to the Confederacy, the Ku Klux Klan, and Jim Crow.

Note carefully something very revealing here. Liberals “got” women and African-Americans the right to vote. I thought there were powerful grassroots’ movements that forced these changes on the Washington power brokers! Yet O’Donnell accurately reflects the profoundly patronizing attitude of today’s leftist elite toward the little people. Funny, isn’t it? A real liberal or even a historical leftist would stress the role played by the average people who courageously grouped together to bring change. This is one more indication of the isolation of the current political-intellectual ruling elite (which in many ways is profoundly reactionary) from the liberals of the past. According to O’Donnell–and none of the admirers of his statement see the incongruity here!–the white, male establishment of the 1920s and 1960s, respectively, gave out these gifts to dependent people the way that government “gives” rights today. Thank you, master!

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

One Response to “Rubin Reports: American History Distorted – How Lawrence O’Donnell Unintentionally Shows Why Contemporary Leftist-Style “Liberalism” Is Wrong”

  1. Yori Yanover says:

    I don't disagree on the facts here, but it should be noted that whatever passed for Republican and Democrat before the Civil Rights Act of 1965 has since been switched around. "Dixiecrat" became Republicans, and liberal Republicans either disappeared or drifted, like, say, John Dean and David Stockman, became Democrats.

    But I admit that, as a registered Democrat, I cringe when I watch the MSNBC panel doing exactly the same unabashed propaganda that Fox is doing. This kind of party line dance renders both channels unwatchable.

    I believe there's a difference between news people having opinions, which is acceptable, and misrepresenting facts, which is not.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from Barry Rubin
Youssef Ziedan

The interviewer responds, “There was also Balfour.”

peace_clowns

If the Obama/Kerry peace deal does go through, what would the risks be?

Let me make it plain. There will be mass murder, even genocide in Syria.

A large number of pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews.

Does anyone think the Palestinian Authority will resist daily attacks from Hamas and Fatah radicals?

Secret Service security arrangements were overruled.

The Obama Administration plan is very simple, assuming that everything goes smoothly–which of course it will not.

The less you know about Islam, the better. Ignorance is strength.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-american-history-distorted-how-lawrence-odonnell-unintentionally-shows-why-contemporary-leftist-style-liberalism-is-wrong/2012/05/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: