Ordinary Americans are more or less united in the war on terrorism, but one enters an altogether different universe when paying mind to the torrent of recent commentary from left-wing journalists, academics and entertainers.
This is the Monitor’s third installment of some of the more anti-American or sheerly idiotic (usually both) examples of what currently passes for deep thought on the American and European Left, but an exercise like this merely scratches the surface – for each piece of drivel selected, there are literally hundreds more that could just as easily have been included.
But depressing as it is to navigate the fever swamps of the left, it’s instructive, too. What hits one in the face time and again is the utter mindlessness, the instinctive and constant resort to cant and cliche, on the part of those who against all evidence fancy themselves part of some intellectual elite. And one’s appreciation is renewed for William F. Buckley’s classic observation that he’d rather be ruled by the first several hundred people in the Boston phone directory than by the faculty of Harvard University.
Leading off this week’s lefty lineup is novelist Barbara Kingsolver, who a few weeks ago let it be known in the San Francisco Chronicle that “the American flag stands for intimidation, censorship, violence, bigotry … and shoving the Constitution through a paper shredder.”
In case anyone was feeling deprived for having missed that particular outburst, Kingsolver obligingly returned with another testament to her judgment and clarity, this time in the Los Angeles Times:
“It is not naive to propose alternatives to war. We could be the kindest nation on earth, inside and out … I’d like an end to corporate welfare so we could put that money into ending homelessness … I would like a humane health-care system organized along the lines of Canada’s. I’d like the efficient public-transit system of Paris in my city, thank you. I’d like us to consume energy at the modest level that Europeans do … If this were the face we showed the world, and the model we helped bring about elsewhere, I expect we could get along with a military budget the size of Iceland’s.”
And what if the U.S. had followed that prescription and still come under attack? That’s easy. Here again the stupefyingly brilliant Ms. Kingsolver: “The World Court and the entire Moslem world stand ready to judge Osama bin Laden and his accessories. If we were to put a few billion dollars into food, health care and education instead of bombs, you can bet we’d win over enough friends to find out where he’s hiding.”
Next up is NBC’s ever-vapid Matt Lauer, who may not be left-wing in the precise definition of the term but who, consciously or unconsciously (more likely the latter), unfailingly reflects left-wing sentiment. The Today show co-host had this to say to the Air Force general supervising airdrops of food in Afghanistan: “But you can’t deny the fact that when you drop these into impoverished areas, you’re in effect sending U.S. propaganda into those areas; you’re saying, ‘Taliban bad. Here’s a gift from the U.S.'”
But even Lauer – who happens to be living proof that lack of brains is hardly an impediment to success in the world of TV “journalism” – would have had to stretch to come up with the nonsense uttered in a radio interview by the cerebrally under-endowed actor Richard Gere, who urged Americans to view terrorists “as a relative who’s dangerously sick …we have to give them medicine, and the medicine is love and compassion. There’s nothing better.”
And then there’s Dona Spring, a member of the Berkeley city council (which distinguished itself by voting to condemn U.S. military action in Afghanistan), who applied for membership in the Low I.Q. Hall of Fame with the following observation: “Berkeley has always been an island of sanity in terms of the war madness that has prevailed in this country. The U.S. is now a terrorist. According to the Taliban these are terrorist attacks.”
Not to be outdone by Spring on the moral relativism front, a professor named Michael Mandel had this to say in the Toronto Globe and Mail: “The bombing of Afghanistan is the legal and moral equivalent of what was done to the Americans on Sept. 11.”
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org