From a Liberal: Left on the wrong side of history

HOW has it happened that the Left of politics across the world has ended up opposing a foreign policy philosophy of spreading democracy in favour of supporting the traditional conservative agenda of stability, sovereignty and the status quo? Because that is what the Left is doing in its hostile reaction to George W. Bush’s second inaugural address.

It is entirely understandable that the Left is viscerally anti-Bush. His political strategy is not based on the democratic approach of seeking the middle ground, but on sharpening differences and divisions, of defaming and intimidating those who do not support him as appeasers, immoral and weak. His and his cabinet officers’ contemptuous treatment of allies and the international institutional framework could not be better demonstrated than by his nomination of John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN. I have had direct experience of how Bolton works. He believes that when the US says “jump”, others should ask “how high?” He tolerates nothing else.

But there’s something much deeper at work here than the Left’s dislike of Bush. It is something that has bedevilled the Left since the 1960s.

Bush said in his second inaugural address: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

This is resonant of John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address in 1961, when he said: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Kennedy’s words inspired the world. It particularly inspired those of us on the progressive side of politics. But those words turned sour because they presaged the US drive deeper into Vietnam. And for most members of the Left, Vietnam is the seminal personal and political rite of passage. Vietnam destroyed a Democrat president. It brought down a Republican president. It discredited the moral and political leadership of the US. Now when the trumpet sounds, the Left’s instinctive reaction is to cry “No, not another Vietnam”.

And so it has been over Iraq. The Left sees it as a Vietnam-style quagmire, a parcel of lies, leading once again to defeat. But the military, geostrategic and political terms of engagement in Iraq are different to those of Vietnam. The most profound difference rests on the issue of democracy. For 15 years the Americans ran the South Vietnamese political system; the elections held were dubious and led to regimes without legitimacy.

In sharp contrast, Iraq’s elections were for real. They are considered legitimate by the world because they are legitimate to Iraqis themselves, who voted in droves. A two-month delay in putting together a new government, far from being a negative, is a positive because those months were devoted to what democracy does best – political accommodation, power sharing, consensus building.
Now the Iraqis have a Kurd as President, a Sunni and a Shia as vice-presidents, a Sunni as Speaker and a Shia as Prime Minister. Negotiations for the final constitution will also require accommodation, compromise and broad support. Nothing remotely like this ever happened in Vietnam.

The key thing for those on the Left to understand is that intense dislike of Bush and echoes of Vietnam do not make a foreign policy. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Bolton - they too will pass. What will go on is the great human desire to be free, which should be at the core of our foreign policy. The great danger for the Left is that its Vietnam and Bush obsessions may mean that it will end up on the wrong side of history.

read it all:
theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12856956^7583,00.html

Gilliam,

I have read several of your posts. I thought YOU were a liberal. Are you being serious here or are you kidding. I took you to be a liberal republican.

???

LOL :slight_smile: R U Serious??? Gilliam a liberal LMBO right now…I am about to choke I am laughing so hard…

[quote=liberal friend]Gilliam,

I have read several of your posts. I thought YOU were a liberal. Are you being serious here or are you kidding. I took you to be a liberal republican.

???
[/quote]

LOL, I don’t think Gillam has had a single liberal thought on these boards.

Victor Davis Hanson:
“It is never wrong to be on the side of freedom, never.”

Similar thoughts expressed here, linked to an from an Australian article.
fierceterrier.blogspot.com/

[quote=mjdonnelly]LOL, I don’t think Gillam has had a single liberal thought on these boards.
[/quote]

I would agree…I think hes really good…my fav on the political forum :thumbsup:

Liberal Friend,

I am what you would call a neoconservative.

Or a cowboy :slight_smile:

[quote=gilliam]Liberal Friend,

I am what you would call a neoconservative.

Or a cowboy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

I must admit I am surprised to read this. I know you are a Bush cheerleader, but does that mean you can’t be a liberal? Hardly. With your neo-liberal interventionist politics and your advocating a very liberal use of the military, I thought you must be a liberal. A Republican one, granted, but a liberal one just the same. You seem to support Bush’s liberal borrow and spend methods of fueling the government as well as the very liberal trade deficits he creates with China and Europe. How exactly are you not a liberal? I suppose you don’t support gays or abortions, but is that all? I am pretty liberal myself, and in many ways we seem to agree.

How are you a cowboy…in the same way the UN is?

Your political and economic conservatism is elusive indeed–in fact, it has eluded me altogether.

[quote=gilliam]Liberal Friend,

I am what you would call a neoconservative.

Or a cowboy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Rockerfeller Republican: A member (or supporter) of the Republican political establishment who is liberal on moral issues, but conservative on issues of economics, limited spending, limited government, and non-interventionist use of the military.

Wilson Republican: A member (or supporter) of the Republican political establishment who is conservative on moral issues, but is liberal on issues of economics, centralized government, interventionist foreign policies, frequent war (usually cited as needed to spread “democracy”).

From reading your posts I took you to be a Wilson (or an FDR?) Republican. (Is that what a neo-con is?)

How then can you be trying to insult the “left” in this post when many of your views originate from “the left”?

Was the Pope being a “leftie” (to use your language) when in 1991 and 2003 he pleaded with Bush (both the Elder and the Younger) not to invade Iraq? Or maybe the Pope just doesn’t “get” your strange mixing of liberal and conservative beliefs either.

[quote=gilliam]Liberal Friend,

I am what you would call a neoconservative.

Or a cowboy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Great minds alike.
Neoconservative politics, the closest you can get to a christian kingdom, without paying the mortuary.

I’m trying to understand what a neo-con is.

I discovered that the phrase was coined in 1962 by the socialist M. Harrington to describe some political leftists who adopted conservative teachings on private morality. --source=Brad Miner

“a neo-con is a liberal who has been mugged by reality”…a better terrm might have been *paleoliberal *not a neoconservative. --source=Irving Kristol

So again, Gilliam, I ask: why do you pretend to insult us liberals when your own forign policy beliefs originated (and continue) as Leftist ideas? Are you pretending to insult yourself, or are you joking around? Please clarify your non-liberal beliefs.

[quote=Trelow]Great minds alike.
Neoconservative politics, the closest you can get to a christian kingdom, without paying the mortuary.
[/quote]

Are you suggesting that the Bush administration is the closest we can get to the Kingdom of God on Earth? That thought is enough to make one question the entire reality of God and Christendom.

[quote=liberal friend]Gilliam,

I have read several of your posts. I thought YOU were a liberal. Are you being serious here or are you kidding. I took you to be a liberal republican.

???
[/quote]

:hmmm: :eek: :rotfl: :rotfl: Gilliam a liberal:rotfl:

[quote=Lisa4Catholics]:hmmm: :eek: :rotfl: :rotfl: Gilliam a liberal:rotfl:
[/quote]

This is an incrediblly thoughtful and detailed post (as all responces on this thread have been).

You neo-cons sure have done your homework. Bravo!!!

Well the neo-cons here have given me a lot to think about and ponder.

Gilliam is not a liberal because he supports Bush, and Bush is not a liberal because Gilliam supports him.

I must ponder this complex logic and wide range of cited facts provided here by the neo-cons some more…:rolleyes:

[quote=liberal friend]I’m trying to understand what a neo-con is.
.
[/quote]

So am I. But people keep telling me I am one.

I discovered that the phrase was coined in 1962 by the socialist M. Harrington to describe some political leftists who adopted conservative teachings on private morality. --source=Brad Miner

“a neo-con is a liberal who has been mugged by reality”…a better terrm might have been *paleoliberal *not a neoconservative. --source=Irving Kristol

.

Irving Kristol is often cited as being one of the first neoconservatives. He is interesting to read, but I don’t agree with everything he writes.

So again, Gilliam, I ask: why do you pretend to insult us liberals when your own forign policy beliefs originated (and continue) as Leftist ideas? Are you pretending to insult yourself, or are you joking around? Please clarify your non-liberal beliefs.

I don’t try to insult liberals. Call me on it if I do, sometimes my writing is a bit harsh.

I was a strong Democrat in the 60s and 70s in the mold of JFK, LBK and someone you may have heard of: Tip O’Neil (one of the greatest Speakers of the House of all time… not that I am biased or anything :wink: )

In my youth, the Democratic Party stood for
Liberty for all
Justice for all
Democracy for all

And wasn’t afraid of spending money and blood to obtain it.

Now, I don’t know what the Democratic Party really stands for except drugs and sex for all, which is the platform Soros is paying for anyway.

Is that a paleoliberal? Perhaps. Zell Miller and I.

[quote=liberal friend]Are you suggesting that the Bush administration is the closest we can get to the Kingdom of God on Earth? That thought is enough to make one question the entire reality of God and Christendom.
[/quote]

No, I love my man and all, but no.

As I see it general neocon philosophy as a whole is more christian than any other political philosophy available to us today.

amnation.com/vfr/archives/003116.html

Is the Pope a neocon?

Back in 2002, I wrote an article at VFR, “Pope John Paul II as the Philosopher of neoconservatism,” which is still linked on the main page. I recently expanded the article in the hope of getting it published at a mainstream magazine, but so far there’s been no interest in it. Since this long papacy seems to be drawing to a close, this is a good time to reconsider John Paul’s highly ambiguous legacy, and so I am publishing the article here.

IS THE POPE A NEOCON?
Lawrence Auster

Over the more than quarter century of his papacy, liberals and leftists have seen John Paul II as a hard-line conservative standing stubbornly in the way of a progressive world order, especially when it comes to such pet leftist causes as homosexual rights and the ordination of women. On the other side of the political divide, most conservatives have also seen the Pope as a conservative, only, of course, they love him for it. To conservatives he is a godsend, a deeply pious and charismatic man who rallied Poland and the other captive nations against their Communist masters, worked with Ronald Reagan to discredit and defeat the Soviet empire, held the line against church liberals, and strengthened and revivified the Church in many ways. Meanwhile, in stark contrast to both the liberals and the conservatives, traditionalists see the Pope as a liberal, even as a man of the left. He is not a traditionalist Christian, they say, but a product of 20th century humanism, a man who seems to speak more about the “human person” than about Christ, and a champion of the doctrinal and liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council that the traditionalists loathe. They also decry such things as the ceaseless globetrotting and huge outdoor gatherings that made him a pop star; his failure to constrain the rampant left-liberalism in many American dioceses; and–his biggest mistake in the eyes of many–his pastoral strategy of reaching out to the modern secular world in its own terms, in the process of which, they charge, he has underplayed or even abandoned core elements of Catholic teaching.[1]

cont… at
amnation.com/vfr/archives/003116.html

[quote=Trelow]No, I love my man and all, but no.

As I see it general neocon philosophy as a whole is more christian than any other political philosophy available to us today.
[/quote]

Michael Medved has a better term theo-con. He refers to someone whose religious convictions influence their thinking. Not in wanting to impose their religion (although that seems to be the usual liberal argument) but in saying that because of reglious objections I do not believe in abortions or homosexual marriage. The conservative side is focused on not thinking the government has all of the answers to social and economic problems. I see myself as more a theo-con than neo-con although I must say I’m not exactly sure what the latter term means.

BTW is Irving Kristol, Bill Kristol’s dad? I saw his mom interviewed on Book TV and she is ONE impressive woman. Interestingly both his parents were Maxist Jews as young people and realized the error of their ways.

Lisa N

Do neocons want a one world government? The Pope really wanted a one world government headed by a reformed UN. That is why he didn’t want to see the US act on its own in Iraq.

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