Can Liberals Be Trusted?

In his Boston Globe column last Saturday, liberal pundit Robert Kuttner "honored" the "courage" and "patriotism" of Senator Russ Feingold (D—WI) for opposing the Patriot Act, both when it originally was passed after 9/11 and again now that it has come up for renewal this year. 

Kuttner offered cheap rhetoric (e.g., the Patriot Act "is a long—standing wish list on the part of prosecutors and spymasters who would sacrifice liberties to needless short—cuts"), not reasoned arguments, to express his opposition to the Patriot Act.  Indeed, the Left's mindless attacks on this important statute, which Kuttner dutifully repeated, have been conclusively rebutted by Andrew C. McCarthy, Heather Mac Donald, and many others.

Nevertheless, Kuttner's article is useful reading for what it reveals about the state of mind of the liberal intellectual elite in this country.  (Kuttner is co—editor of The American Prospect magazine, and author of several economics books in which he argues in favor of greater governmental control over the economy.)

First, Kuttner derides the "so—called Patriot Act" for having been adopted "in the hysterical wake of 9/11."  For Kuttner, the anguish, the anger, and the resolve to take action against the terrorists who attacked us that terrible day, were an "hysterical" over—reaction. 

Liberals like Kuttner believe that President Bush, and the rest of the nation (full of hateful flag—wavers), should have reacted to 9/11 with the same impotent indifference that President Clinton reacted to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and to the many other acts of terrorism that occurred under his watch.  (See this.)

The magnitude of the death, destruction, and sheer hatred that was inflicted on us on 9/11 clearly has little meaning or resonance for liberals like Kuttner.  So why should Americans trust them to work aggressively to prevent another such attack (or worse) from occurring in the future — especially when they vehemently oppose giving the President and the executive branch the tools needed to root out the terrorists who are planning the next big strike?  The question answers itself.

Second, Kuttner engages in his own "hysterical" over—reaction, when he invokes the spectre of "mass round—ups, permanent detentions, [and] summary executions" in challenging the President's power to conduct secret surveillance of terrorist operatives here and abroad. This outrageous argument is simply a more sophisticated version of the "Bush = Hitler" rhetoric that has become depressingly endemic on the Left.  (See this.)

In other words, even educated, upper—class liberals like Kuttner believe that President Bush's efforts to protect us from additional acts of terrorism represent a greater threat to freedom and justice in this country than the terrorist acts themselves.  One is forced to conclude that liberals would rather see the Brooklyn Bridge tumble into the East River or a dirty bomb detonated in Washington, DC, then have the NSA listen in on Al Qaeda's private conversations or have Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly INS) detain Middle Easterners who are in the United States illegally.

The question bears repeating:  Can liberals be trusted?

Steven M. Warshawsky   2 20 06

In his Boston Globe column last Saturday, liberal pundit Robert Kuttner "honored" the "courage" and "patriotism" of Senator Russ Feingold (D—WI) for opposing the Patriot Act, both when it originally was passed after 9/11 and again now that it has come up for renewal this year. 

Kuttner offered cheap rhetoric (e.g., the Patriot Act "is a long—standing wish list on the part of prosecutors and spymasters who would sacrifice liberties to needless short—cuts"), not reasoned arguments, to express his opposition to the Patriot Act.  Indeed, the Left's mindless attacks on this important statute, which Kuttner dutifully repeated, have been conclusively rebutted by Andrew C. McCarthy, Heather Mac Donald, and many others.

Nevertheless, Kuttner's article is useful reading for what it reveals about the state of mind of the liberal intellectual elite in this country.  (Kuttner is co—editor of The American Prospect magazine, and author of several economics books in which he argues in favor of greater governmental control over the economy.)

First, Kuttner derides the "so—called Patriot Act" for having been adopted "in the hysterical wake of 9/11."  For Kuttner, the anguish, the anger, and the resolve to take action against the terrorists who attacked us that terrible day, were an "hysterical" over—reaction. 

Liberals like Kuttner believe that President Bush, and the rest of the nation (full of hateful flag—wavers), should have reacted to 9/11 with the same impotent indifference that President Clinton reacted to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and to the many other acts of terrorism that occurred under his watch.  (See this.)

The magnitude of the death, destruction, and sheer hatred that was inflicted on us on 9/11 clearly has little meaning or resonance for liberals like Kuttner.  So why should Americans trust them to work aggressively to prevent another such attack (or worse) from occurring in the future — especially when they vehemently oppose giving the President and the executive branch the tools needed to root out the terrorists who are planning the next big strike?  The question answers itself.

Second, Kuttner engages in his own "hysterical" over—reaction, when he invokes the spectre of "mass round—ups, permanent detentions, [and] summary executions" in challenging the President's power to conduct secret surveillance of terrorist operatives here and abroad. This outrageous argument is simply a more sophisticated version of the "Bush = Hitler" rhetoric that has become depressingly endemic on the Left.  (See this.)

In other words, even educated, upper—class liberals like Kuttner believe that President Bush's efforts to protect us from additional acts of terrorism represent a greater threat to freedom and justice in this country than the terrorist acts themselves.  One is forced to conclude that liberals would rather see the Brooklyn Bridge tumble into the East River or a dirty bomb detonated in Washington, DC, then have the NSA listen in on Al Qaeda's private conversations or have Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly INS) detain Middle Easterners who are in the United States illegally.

The question bears repeating:  Can liberals be trusted?

Steven M. Warshawsky   2 20 06