The Madness of the Left

A cynic might speculate that the tide must be turning  against the monsters, the jihadist  murderers and other assorted thugs, as Jane Fonda has announced that she's rolling up her sleeves and hitting the road ( with the odious George Galloway as the opening act) to work for——surprise!—an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Fonda, her ageless beauty disfigured and her resplendent talent tarnished by a lifelong advocacy of evil causes, lusts so passionately for America's defeat that she is even willing to make a mockery of her iconic feminism to aid barbarians who view women as chattel. She is afflicted by a form of madness: the Madness of the Left.

The grieving mother Cindy Sheehan camps outside the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas and demands an audience with him. She has already had one, but the crowd that draws strength from the prospect of America's humiliation, whether in Iraq or elsewhere, is galvanized by her strident denunciations of George Bush and Israel and relishes the theater she provides. Self—righteous and uncurious, they never pause to contemplate the wellspring of the freedoms that sanction their dissent as it verges on disloyalty. Their ingratitude, born of historical ignorance, toward the vibrant, creative, and benevolent nation that affords them the leisure to protest reflects the madness.

Atop her harpy's nest at the New York Times, Maureen Dowd proclaims Sheehan's 'absolute moral authority.' This is what can happen when quite unintelligent writers are permitted to make unrestricted use of abstract terms.  Sheehan's moral authority (Dowd hasn't the faintest idea of what that phrase might mean) can't possibly derive from the tragic death of her son, or bereaved mothers who support our actions in Iraq would share in it. No, the moral authority that Dowd reserves for leftist mothers who hate George Bush is the tautological outgrowth of their hatred of George Bush. 'Absolute' is a poor modifier for anything that is less than, well, absolute. The type of moral authority posited by Dowd is absolute only insofar as she approves of it. In the final analysis, what Cindy Sheehan has is neither absolute, nor moral, nor a form of authority. For persuading the rest of us that we must slink away from the Middle East with our tails between our legs, the Anointed (Thomas Sowell's perfect characterization) assume that such a Potemkin village of virtue is good enough.

Always be suspicious of people who proclaim their love of peace: try finding someone who admits to liking war. Back in the most self—congratulatory period in our history, voices from the left clamored for peace, peace, peace at any cost. Yet, Jane Fonda's personal struggle was the struggle of the communists to conquer the nation to the south. When she posed astride that antiaircraft gun, she was symbolically urging the North Vietnamese gunners to down American planes and exact a heavy toll in blood and suffering from the imperialists. The cost of a peace settlement that left South Vietnam free she would have reckoned as too high. One simple, even simplistic, question is guaranteed to throw a room filled with sanctimonious, oh—so—principled relics of the anti—war movement into an uproar: If North Vietnam had called off its invasion, why wouldn't the ineluctable consequence have been peace? Inexplicably, fair—minded people are terribly shy about asking it. Feel free to take the plunge, but expect angry glares, followed by the old heave—ho.

A symptom common to those seized by the Madness of the Left is the tendency to bizarre utterance, the compulsion to say things that the speaker cannot possibly believe. At the Democratic National Convention last summer, John Edwards contrasted the battlefield heroism of his running mate with George Bush's craven evasion of his duty. While Bush sought refuge in the National Guard (incidentally, learning to fly fighter jets isn't everyone's notion of how a rich boy ducks the draft), John Kerry was defending his country. Excuse me—can we stop right there? If that is what John Kerry was doing, then isn't the long debate finally over, and didn't conservatives win?

Surely no one present at that convention took Edwards seriously (this was not, after all, the Republican convention), that the men who had fought in Vietnam were defending their country. John Kerry had entered the national consciousness by branding those men war criminals and likening them to the hordes of Genghis (remember to pronounce it as a 'J') Khan. Imagine (the effort might require straining) a reporter forgetting that his job requires sensitivity to the needs of the Democratic Party above all, and summoning up the temerity to eschew the soft lob in favor of a hard slider: Senator Kerry, you talk constantly of your own bravery and express enormous pride in the exploits of your 'Band of Brothers.' If the war was immoral, and you participated in actions that violated the Geneva Convention, burning villages and all that—making you, by your own lights, a war criminal—can you tell us what, exactly, you are proud of?

Oh, yes, that could happen. It could happen on the planet where Dan Rather spearheads an investigation into Hugh Rodham's refusal to return the four hundred grand he charged to obtain presidential pardons from his Bubba—in—law.

The distinction between liberals and leftists has been noted. Liberals generally display milder forms of the madness, usually managing to avoid the sort of traps that leftists construct for themselves. Conspiracy buffs will recall with amusement how determined the loony—left sites were to prove Bush's complicity in the attacks of September 11. What dark forces ordered the Strategic Air Command to stand down? Why weren't those civilian jetliners shot down (over heavily—populated areas, with tons of flaming debris causing massive casualties)? Really, inquiring progressive minds want to know.

No self—respecting leftist can believe that protocols for intercepting American passenger jets were not in place. Those planes should have been destroyed as soon as they strayed off course, the cry went up, although the people demanding to know why Bush failed to order it done would have screamed the loudest for his impeachment had he taken their counsel. (Leftists are afraid to stop screaming—they might be forced to think.) Terrorists had never before commandeered large aircraft for the purpose of flying them into buildings. It is not much of a stretch to picture Michael Moore arguing that the poor darlings were merely making a statement and intended to land the planes in Cuba. The prevailing mythology holds that all anti—American freedom fighters must be idealists and therefore Marxists.

Liberals mostly steer clear of such egregious stuff. They enthusiastically join the hard—left, however, in embracing one particular implausible theory and ritualistically chanting its mantra: Bush Lied! Every six months or so, I will point out, purely as a public service, that every Democrat mouthing his daily talking points, every post—modern, multi—culti, eco—sensitive academic inveighing against the decadent West, every barking moonbat airing his irrational prejudices on the net—everyone who claims that George Bush lied or misled us into war with Iraq IS A LIAR...every single one. They all know that they're lying. Understand that they are contending that the fruitless search for WMDs did not cause anger and bewilderment in the White House; that furniture did not get kicked over in frustration. No, they insist that Bush and his inner circle were rubbing their hands with glee and cackling over each new slippage in the polls (The plan is working: we're well on our way to blowing the election!). Sorry, water doesn't run uphill and politicians don't try to lose. Only the Madness of the Left could bottle such moonshine.