The Liberals' 'Other' Problem

When a white redneck American blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, President Clinton blamed right-wing talk radio. But when a Muslim-American blew away thirteen American citizens at Fort Hood in 2009, the president was careful not to rush to judgment, and the mainstream media medicalized the suspect's motive into pre- or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

This is a serious problem, and I think the conclusion in inescapable. Our liberal friends are turning us into a nation of cowards on the terrorism issue. 

As we know from our liberal friends' constant badgering, there is scarcely anything worse than dividing the world into "Us" and "Them." It's a matter of inclusion. Only if you have learned to be extremely inclusive do you go the head of the class and call yourself tolerant and compassionate. Liberal Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor in Sources of the Self:
Perhaps the most urgent and powerful cluster of demands that we recognize as moral concern the respect for life, integrity, and well-being, even flourishing, of others. ... Virtually everyone feels these demands, and they have been and are acknowledged in all human societies. Of course, the scope of the demand notoriously varies: earlier societies, and some present ones, restrict the class of beneficiaries to members of the tribe or race and exclude outsiders, who are fair game... [For] most contemporaries this class is coterminous with the human race[.]
It is faith in this ideal that makes our liberal friends hesitate to brand the accused killer of Fort Hood, Maj. Hasan, as an outsider, an "Other." Once you brand someone the "Other," he becomes a potential enemy. Then it becomes possible to go to war with that enemy, and war, as we all know, is not the answer.

But our liberal friends did not hesitate to blame Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City attack. They did not hesitate to call President Bush a liar and a "selected, not elected" president. They were on Sarah Palin's case within hours of her nomination as Vice President of the United States with the vilest personal smears. They have been quick to play the race card against President Obama's critics.

For our liberal friends, Maj. Hasan, accused mass killer, dwells within the boundary of moral concern. Rush Limbaugh, President Bush, and Sarah Palin do not. They, like the president's critics, are the "Other."

It's easy to put bumper stickers on the back of your Prius to "Visualize World Peace" and declare that "War is Not the Answer."  It is especially easy when "they" are bombing the financial district and shooting up a military base, and not the Upper West Side or a yeasty Victorian neighborhood in Berkeley. But when things get closer to home, our liberal friends turn out not to believe in peace and pacifism after all. Don't expect much peace visualization or respect for your integrity when abortion or gay marriage is on the agenda.

There is a reason why our liberal friends have gotten into this mess of hypocrisy: the narrowness of their liberal narrative. Liberals exist to rescue those excluded from the country clubs of capitalism. You see, even though nobody would ever want to belong to a WASP country club, the fact that the WASPs don't immediately invite everyone to join is intolerable. Indeed, ever since the dawn of time, dead white male bourgeois capitalists and their running dogs at Fox News and talk radio have been excluding workers, minorities, women, and gays from full membership in society. But fortunately, there are kindly people, once called liberals and now progressives, who are determined to bring in an era of full inclusion for these traditionally marginalized groups. Liberals propose gentle and nuanced progressive legislation to include the excluded groups into the mainstream of society.

The problem with this philosophy sits right at the heart of it. Government is force. Politics is conflict. President Obama's program of progressive health care is a program of force. Most Americans will be forced to buy government-approved health insurance or face a criminal penalty. To create support for the program, Obama and his supporters demonize the opponents of the program as greedy insurance companies or greedy drug companies. In other words, they divide the world into "Us" and "Them." If you don't support the president, you are the "Other."

Liberals can't really believe in inclusion when they believe that government is the answer and politics is the way.

When you believe that government is the way, then you need Fox News, talk radio, "christianists," "tea-baggers," George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin to play the "Other."  Sometimes the "Other" is Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the Republican Party. At other times, the "Other" is Rush Limbaugh, a mere entertainer.

Of course, conservatives can be shockingly divisive too. In particular, conservatives feel that the U.S. government should use force when necessary upon declared enemies foreign and domestic, and exclude them from inclusion in the last best hope of man on earth.

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.comHis Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.
When a white redneck American blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, President Clinton blamed right-wing talk radio. But when a Muslim-American blew away thirteen American citizens at Fort Hood in 2009, the president was careful not to rush to judgment, and the mainstream media medicalized the suspect's motive into pre- or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

This is a serious problem, and I think the conclusion in inescapable. Our liberal friends are turning us into a nation of cowards on the terrorism issue. 

As we know from our liberal friends' constant badgering, there is scarcely anything worse than dividing the world into "Us" and "Them." It's a matter of inclusion. Only if you have learned to be extremely inclusive do you go the head of the class and call yourself tolerant and compassionate. Liberal Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor in Sources of the Self:
Perhaps the most urgent and powerful cluster of demands that we recognize as moral concern the respect for life, integrity, and well-being, even flourishing, of others. ... Virtually everyone feels these demands, and they have been and are acknowledged in all human societies. Of course, the scope of the demand notoriously varies: earlier societies, and some present ones, restrict the class of beneficiaries to members of the tribe or race and exclude outsiders, who are fair game... [For] most contemporaries this class is coterminous with the human race[.]
It is faith in this ideal that makes our liberal friends hesitate to brand the accused killer of Fort Hood, Maj. Hasan, as an outsider, an "Other." Once you brand someone the "Other," he becomes a potential enemy. Then it becomes possible to go to war with that enemy, and war, as we all know, is not the answer.

But our liberal friends did not hesitate to blame Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City attack. They did not hesitate to call President Bush a liar and a "selected, not elected" president. They were on Sarah Palin's case within hours of her nomination as Vice President of the United States with the vilest personal smears. They have been quick to play the race card against President Obama's critics.

For our liberal friends, Maj. Hasan, accused mass killer, dwells within the boundary of moral concern. Rush Limbaugh, President Bush, and Sarah Palin do not. They, like the president's critics, are the "Other."

It's easy to put bumper stickers on the back of your Prius to "Visualize World Peace" and declare that "War is Not the Answer."  It is especially easy when "they" are bombing the financial district and shooting up a military base, and not the Upper West Side or a yeasty Victorian neighborhood in Berkeley. But when things get closer to home, our liberal friends turn out not to believe in peace and pacifism after all. Don't expect much peace visualization or respect for your integrity when abortion or gay marriage is on the agenda.

There is a reason why our liberal friends have gotten into this mess of hypocrisy: the narrowness of their liberal narrative. Liberals exist to rescue those excluded from the country clubs of capitalism. You see, even though nobody would ever want to belong to a WASP country club, the fact that the WASPs don't immediately invite everyone to join is intolerable. Indeed, ever since the dawn of time, dead white male bourgeois capitalists and their running dogs at Fox News and talk radio have been excluding workers, minorities, women, and gays from full membership in society. But fortunately, there are kindly people, once called liberals and now progressives, who are determined to bring in an era of full inclusion for these traditionally marginalized groups. Liberals propose gentle and nuanced progressive legislation to include the excluded groups into the mainstream of society.

The problem with this philosophy sits right at the heart of it. Government is force. Politics is conflict. President Obama's program of progressive health care is a program of force. Most Americans will be forced to buy government-approved health insurance or face a criminal penalty. To create support for the program, Obama and his supporters demonize the opponents of the program as greedy insurance companies or greedy drug companies. In other words, they divide the world into "Us" and "Them." If you don't support the president, you are the "Other."

Liberals can't really believe in inclusion when they believe that government is the answer and politics is the way.

When you believe that government is the way, then you need Fox News, talk radio, "christianists," "tea-baggers," George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin to play the "Other."  Sometimes the "Other" is Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the Republican Party. At other times, the "Other" is Rush Limbaugh, a mere entertainer.

Of course, conservatives can be shockingly divisive too. In particular, conservatives feel that the U.S. government should use force when necessary upon declared enemies foreign and domestic, and exclude them from inclusion in the last best hope of man on earth.

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.comHis Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.