Ed Driscoll

Blaming America First and Last

As Jonah Goldberg notes in the latest edition of his weekly G-File, “the liberal ideological comfort zone is incredibly narrow:”

I’ve always liked the line, usually attributed to Robert Frost, that a liberal is too broadminded to take his own side in an argument. But if you think about it, it is sneakily self-serving. Broadmindedness is not what drives these people, it is merely one of the many terms of their self-flattery. “We liberals are open-minded to a fault!” It’s like those job-interview jokes where you say your biggest fault is “caring too much” or “being too much of a perfectionist.”

In reality, the liberal ideological comfort zone is incredibly narrow. If an issue can’t be turned into a critique of America (or: white privilege, the religious Right (variously defined), capitalism, the GOP, or some other float in the parade of horribles that is the legacy of those horrible Pale Penis People who gave us so much of Western civilization), then the conversation must be pulled in that direction. It’s simply where their minds go. Rhetorically they have to fight every fight on home turf.

Hence Bates says, “I think we also have to remember that this isn’t just Islamic extremism . . .” Blah blah blah. No, we don’t have to remember anything of the sort. You have a pathological need to change the subject. People like Bates can’t help themselves. They have to get the conversation back to a place where they are comfortable talking about their preferred enemies and demons, even if he has to haul a 30-year-old 600 pound red herring into the studio to do it.

Bates of course is not alone. You could feel the relief wash over parts of the Left when it was reported that one of the Hebdo jihadis was mad at Bush and Abu Ghraib (Noah Rothman has examples here). Finally, there’s something here we can blame on America! We can work with this! Heaven forbid America is ever clearly and unabashedly on the right side of anything.


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