Liberals don’t see failed liberal policies as “failed,” any more than people of faith think that unanswered prayers are “failed” prayers. The difference is that people of faith abnegate themselves in prayer to a wholly-other divine person, while liberal poster-children subject the world to the narcissistic demands of their own spiritual needs. Jody isn’t the first to make the point. “Remember the war against Franco/That’s the kind where each of us belongs,” sang Tom Lehrer. “He may have won all the battles/But we had all the good songs.” But he makes it in a theologically-informed way that exposes the phenomenology of liberal self-worship.

The slaughter in Syria is a minor annoyance to the poster children, whereas peace and prosperity in Israel are cataclysmic disasters. That sounds funny, but it isn’t to the liberals: bringing a liberally-conceived peace to the Middle East is one of those Great Opportunities for Redemption, and to miss it is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. Darwin forbid that Israel might carry on as a pocket superpower in science, business, and the arts, educating and empowering a new Arab middle class, without submitting to the demands of liberal theology. It’s not only John Kerry who stands to lose his last shot at a Nobel Prize. Liberals of all stripes stand to lose the chance, to demonstrate that particularity (for example, Zionism) is inherently wrong and that liberal universality is right.

You can’t argue with liberals. Prove to them their policy has made things worse, and they will say in effect, “Worse for whom? It sure made me feel better!” Tell them that they have foredained their own extinction because their metrosexuality doesn’t leave time for children, and they will gaze heavenward and contemplate martyrdom on behalf of the earth-goddess Gaia. There are too many people polluting the earth anyway.

Dr. Frankenstein didn’t care that he had created a monster. You can’t argue with the man; the only thing to do is to persuade the villagers to march on his castle.

A postscript on neo-conservatives: Irving Kristol liked to say that a neoconservative was a liberal who was mugged by reality. The neocons were liberals who actually cared about the consequences of their actions, and ipso facto stopped being liberals. After the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the failed Bush Freedom Initiative, the abortive Arab Spring, and the Libyan disaster, there appear to be diminishing returns to the marginal mugging.