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 A Pair of Liberals 

July 5, 2007 
liberals gratefulI’m a soft-hearted man. I weep easily at human misfortune and even old movies. I am plumb full of the milk of human kindness, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Today's column is "A Pair of Liberals" -- Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.liberals gratefulAll the same, there are people for whom I find it hard to work up much pity. My tender heart is offset by a cruel sense of irony that awakens when certain malefactors get just what they deserve. Then my tears of sympathy yield to raucous, almost diabolical laughter. I wish I could call it Olympian, but I’d be flattering myself.

liberals gratefulToday liberals hate President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. I’m not too crazy about those two birds either, but there’s a difference: they are exactly the bogus “conservatives” the liberals deserve and ought to be grateful for, or at least accept as a penance. So why are liberals rejecting their own?

liberals gratefulSince the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt, liberals have worshipped the executive branch of government, celebrating those presidents who have usurped most power, just as they have shown enthusiasm for foreign “leaders” (their euphemism for dictators) who have ruled most, er, progressively. They’d like us to forget how they used to coo over Stalin, Mao, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, and even, briefly, Pol Pot, who was, in the words of a New York Times columnist, “building a new society” in Cambodia.

liberals gratefulRoosevelt, avatar of centralized power and one-man rule, not only befriended “Uncle Joe” Stalin but modeled his New Deal on Mussolini’s Fascism. Why he disliked Hitler is anyone’s guess, but I think we can safely say it wasn’t humanitarian principle.

gratefulPrinciple? The word should never be mentioned in the same breath with Roosevelt. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down his Fascist-inspired National Recovery Act as unconstitutional, his response was to try to turn the judiciary into a tool of the executive branch. This was too much even for his own party, and he failed — though he later got his way by filling the Court with his compliant cronies.

liberals gratefulLiberals supported Roosevelt’s efforts to transform the very nature of the Court, and after that they also applauded the Court’s own usurpations of power. All this is good to bear in mind as they rail against both executive and judicial abuses of authority today.

liberals gratefulHere is John Updike writing in The New Yorker: “Roosevelt put a cheerful, defiant, caring face on government at a time when faith in democracy was ebbing throughout the Western world. For this inspirational feat he is the twentieth century’s greatest President, to rank with Lincoln and Washington as symbolic figures for a nation to live by.” He also lauds Roosevelt for “bending the old rules.”

[Breaker quote for 
A Pair of Liberals: Why aren't other liberals grateful?]liberals gratefulWhat utter nonsense. I’m shocked that a man as intelligent as Updike could write words so asinine. Imagine what Jefferson might have replied. If you can.

liberals grateful“The old rules”? Would that be the U.S. Constitution? Well, as I never tire of repeating, the Constitution poses no serious threat to our form of government. And we can thank three generations of liberals for that — including those who feel that arbitrary executive and judicial power has suddenly fallen into the wrong hands.

liberals gratefulIf only we can get it back into the hands of people who know what to do with it! People named Clinton, Obama, Edwards, or Gore, or even a progressive-minded Republican.

liberals gratefulUpdike reminds me of those old Russians who long for another Stalin. Before you reply that the Russian national character is traditionally autocratic, ask yourself whether it differs all that much from the American national character. See how Ron Paul, the only champion of constitutional government in the Congress, is doing in the polls, and maybe you’ll have your answer.

liberals gratefulBush and Cheney, with their “big-government conservatism,” are a loathsome pair, all right, but they differ from liberal heroes only in detail. This is why they, and the Republicans who aspire to succeed them in office, drive real conservatives nuts.

liberals gratefulNow that so many nominal conservatives have forgotten what real conservatism is, I pray that some wise liberals will discover it. The genuine article could hardly be more different from the deformed and abnormal stuff Bush and Cheney stand for. It’s a lovely attitude of caution, prudence, respect for tradition, love of peace, and fear of concentrated power — the opposite of all the official fanaticisms of our age.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2007 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
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