Friday, October 26, 2007

The Stark Truth About the Left

With Representative Pete Stark's recent anti-Bush statements as the prompt, Michael Knox Beran at the National Review offers an excellent reminder of the contemporary left's anti-American fundamentalism:

Congressman Pete Stark has apologized for saying that President Bush finds “amusement” in the spectacle of American troops getting “their heads blown off” in Iraq. Yet his comments have been embraced by many of the president’s detractors, among them bloggers at The Huffington Post and Daily Kos.

It is not hard to see why. Congressman Stark’s words are faithful to a particular way of looking at America and its place in history — are faithful to what might be called the “liberal interpretation of history.”

The liberal interpretation of history holds that the United States is not merely a flawed country — all countries are flawed — but a deeply flawed one. It was founded by statesmen who subscribed to a deeply flawed philosophy; statesmen who believed that all men are created equal, and that all men are entitled to life, liberty, and the fruits of their industry.

The founders of the United States, it is true, did not always live up to their philosophy. But by placing its principles in the Declaration of Independence, they preserved it, as Abraham Lincoln said, for all time, so that “to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.”

In the view of those who subscribe to the liberal interpretation of history, the philosophy of the Declaration is antiquated. According to the liberal interpretation, all men are created equal, except for blacks, Native Americans, Alaskan natives, Hispanics, and Asian and Pacific Islanders, who are racially challenged and must be classed apart from everyone else. (Native Hawaiians will be added to the list if the Akaka Bill becomes law.) All are entitled to life, except for those whose hearts beat in the womb; to liberty, except for those who require the supervision of the nanny state; to the fruits of their industry, except for those who have made a certain amount of money and are obligated to hand a disproportionate chunk of it over to the government each year.

Central to the liberal interpretation of history is the belief that a country founded on so flawed a philosophy cannot, as a rule, be a force for good in the world. Accordingly, when the United States acts in the world it most often acts not for good, but for evil.

Viewed in the light of such an interpretation of history, Congressman Stark’s comments become comprehensible, even predictable. President Bush adheres to the Freevangelical faith of President Lincoln, who argued that the United States has a decisive role to play in advancing the cause of freedom in the world. President Bush adheres, as well, to the belief that all human beings are entitled to liberty and the fruits of their industry: he therefore opposes the enlargement of nanny-state measures like S-CHIP when alternative measures (such as tax cuts) would promote the general welfare in a better and less intrusive way.

From the point of view of those who subscribe to the liberal interpretation of history, such heterodoxy cannot be explained rationally; the President must be not merely intellectually primitive, but morally depraved, as Congressman Stark suggested when he condemned the president for defending freedom abroad while resisting S-CHIP expansion at home.
Read the whole thing.

For more argument along these lines, see Lee Harris, "The Intellectual Origins of America-Bashing" and Cinnamon Stillwell, "The Making Of A 9/11 Republican."