Theodore's World: On The Couch With A Liberal ~ by Rhod

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November 07, 2006

On The Couch With A Liberal ~ by Rhod

A few weeks ago I had an argument with a liberal at another blog. It started as a routine exchange of ideas and facts about the Iraq War. He claimed that Bush lied about WMD’s that the war is a disaster; it’s caused a bloom in terrorism across the globe that wouldn’t have existed otherwise, and it’s also responsible for problems between Muslims and native Europeans, especially in The Netherlands and France. No surprises here, except that he also claimed that the “overwhelming majority” of “peace-loving Muslims” across the globe were disgusted by the events of 911 and were “ on our side” until we invaded Iraq. This, I didn’t know for sure, and neither did he.

He unpacked all these ideas from his liberal sales kit, the one with the pocket of praise for the UN and the dud Hans Blix. He spoke of the UN as the ancients once spoke of The God’s, and Blix, was at the summit of Turtle Bay’s Mount Olympus. It was easy to sweep all this inferior junk off the table, but while doing it, I referred to some of his ideas as “fatuous” and “idiotic”. And while I never described him as a “fatuous idiot”, these perfectly good words changed the nature of our discussion entirely. Where he was simply lofty and dismissive of me before, now he was angry.

The smoke of his indignation was thick in the air, and he hid behind it. He built a new redoubt around his ego, his reputation, and his status, and pretty much abandoned any defense of his points of view of the war. He’d concluded that my nastiness cancelled the validity of my arguments anyway, and at the same time verified the truth of his ideas. Because I proved myself crude and vulgar, nothing I said could be true. We were now locked in a psychodrama: then he pulled himself together and insisted that, whatever else might be true or false, and no matter how nasty I was, the Iraq War still “created terrorists”, and he had the sobering authority of the NIE Report to prove it.

Now this was interesting, and from his point of view, it made perfect sense. A ‘new” terrorist has much in common with an offended liberal because both of them are pissed off and resentful of people they don’t like in the first place. My opponent was, more or less, speaking about himself as well as terrorists, and then I knew that I had made the amateur’s mistake once again. I underestimated my opponent, by failing to allow for the importance of psychological factors to liberals in their worldview. But what do you say to a guy like this?

Well, the short answer to the assertion about expanding terrorism is this: When you go to war with people of a certain kind, they fight back. Even the ones just hanging around the falafel parlor. They enlist like-minded people, and an organization of enemies is the result. Because they coalesce and act doesn’t mean they didn’t exist before in some subtle, disorganized way. They’re just more visible when hostilities commence. But The Left’s assumption is that, prior to the invasion of Iraq, the future terrorist was involved in peaceful domesticity, sloshing a case of beer and watching re-runs of “Full House”. The deposition of Saddam Hussein then plunged him into fits of decapitation, mosque-attendance, beard-growing and self-destruction.

This is a variation on the claim that 1960’s radicals discarded their tennis whites, skateboards and Boy’s Life mags for frantic dancing, drug –use and bomb-making because of the draft, the Vietnam War, social injustice and capitalism. Even if these weird maniac constructions makes some sense, the problem with liberals is not their fixating concern for psychological factors, it’s the therapeutic mindset that follows it.

The therapeutic mindset is really an excuse-generating machine. It dismisses moral value and free will. My opponent, without actually saying it, was claiming that today’s Islamic killer was yesterday’s friend, and only fate and American malevolence are to blame for his wickedness. This is finely tuned idiocy, and yes, it’s also fatuous, but I didn’t give him the chance to hear me say it again. But now his was angrier at me for a few gruff expressions than at the terrorist who snaps on a suicide belt. What was the point?

Since I was back at the beginning. I didn’t say much except “let’s agree to disagree” and we parted company. Why? Because a portal had been opened to an examination of social pathologies, poverty, lack of education in the Middle East, and all the other mordant alibis that liberals deploy to avoid evaluating real events and real people. The advantage in this arena is always to the liberal. Any statement about the psyche of our enemies, pre or post-war, can’t be verified or disproved, just discredited by common sense, and common sense isn’t enough for a liberal. There’s no chance of victory or truth when you’re on the couch with a liberal and staring into the maw of endless theorizing about motives and moral neutrality. Terrorism, in such a world, is no more odious then a violent protest about a penurious minimum wage.

What this proves to me, over and over, is that classical liberalism is dead. It’s been undone by its frail and senile self, by relativism and its evil spawn, multi-culturalism, by Marx and Freud and the need to sanitize all conduct of relative value. Liberalism was born into a world of oppressions of all kinds, and having successfully liberated most Westerners from all restraint over two hundred years, it’s inertial force now must liberate people from the consequences of freedom itself, which can be summarized as good or bad behavior, and personal responsibility or irresponsibility. And this is something radical Islam understands about us. Their best friends are already inside the gates, and the heads they remove will sometimes be smiling back at them.

Posted by Rhod at November 7, 2006 02:47 AM


Thank you Rhod.

Since 9-11 happened, there have been 3 people that have told me that it is America’s fault that we were attacked. The first time I thought I was hearing things, the second time I was a little more prepared but still the shock of such a thing left me with no words to come back with. The 3rd time I was able to manage a comeback but it left me feeling just as empty as I did when I was unable to say something back to those saying such things.

Oh I had all the reasons for a good debate, the information of how we are the People of the book and they want us dead. How it doesn’t matter if we drive an SUV or use a scooter etc. But all my reasons and arguments landed on deaf ears. I was told we were the enemy, and deserved to be hated by most of the world because we are an evil empire, and how our military delivers the evil we send out into the world.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 7, 2006 03:14 AM

That is a truely wonderful and insightful analogy.

Posted by: John L Hamilton at November 7, 2006 06:40 AM

I think it's evolutionary, Chrissie. Since JFK corrupted liberalism by making it fashionable, liberals' vanity about themselves has leaped way beyond their logic. The conviction that you're correct just because you exist is going to be proven wrong in ten minutes, so you need some line of defense that can't be overcome by current knowledge.

So, liberals, like sorcerers, claim to have knowledge of things that can't be seen. Liberals survive in the world of ideas by not having any that can be tested. It's perfect. LIberalism, like the cockroach will remained essentially unchanged for eons to come.

Posted by: Rhod at November 7, 2006 08:11 AM

Rhod, the only part I might somewhat disagree with is that JFK was responsible for corrupting liberalism... I think the roots of its corrupting were already there before JFK got there. Some years ago, David Horowitz was on a radio talk show talking about the '60s radicals and his role in it as editor of Ramparts. He said that he was already a true believer (perhaps "fellow traveller" would be a better expression) in 1960, and so were all of his radical associates who were the movers and shakers of the student uprisings in Berkeley. I called in, and I got on the air and I got to ask him a question. I asked, "Back then, you guys used to preach classicial liberalism. What happened to that"? His answer: "That was all a smokescreen. We were never interested in that. We only wanted our rights so we could use them to take away everyone else's."

And at that moment I understood. The authoritarianism and political correctness that is liberalism today is not an aberration. It was the unspoken goal all along. And people like me, who grew up in the '70s, fell for it. Thank God that Reagan came along when he did and opened our eyes.

I will say that I don't think that classical liberalism is really dead. I think it has subsumed itself into the libertarian wing of modern conservatism.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at November 7, 2006 09:52 AM

Excellent post Rhod, I hope the message gets through to some. My experience is they never acknowledge when they're wrong they just erect another strawman to hide behind and that they are as implacable as any Islamo-fascist.

Posted by: Jack at November 7, 2006 12:17 PM

Thank you Two Jacks.

Cousin Dave:

You're probably right, and I wouldn't argue over details. My opinion is that Kennedy and his tedious wife - and especially the tedious wife, who invented the Camelot fantasy with a literary fella whose name will come to me after I'm through here - created the cult of celebrity that attaches to liberalism. We see it today in its mature form.

If you go back farther, to Henry Wallace and the post-war members of the Beat Generation, you do find the Marxist proletarian bullshit of progressivism, and the statist solutions to real and imagined social problems. You're absolutely right. It was already there.

I think Adlai Stevenson had this figured out, and he intended to introduce some brains into the Democratic Party, and make it respectable, which is why they destroyed him, and JFK was part of the hit.

But back to the corruption of the Donk Party. One of Progressivism's internal contradictions is that it is inherently class-conscious. It has to be, so it contains the seeds of snobbery and judgements of intellect and style. It enables prattling dimwits like Barbara Streisand and millions like her to be snobs AND compassionate liberals at the same time. You couldn't get a better deal from a bookie.

That's the virus that Kennedy dragged in with him. Style, wit, education, breeding (of a sort), class (of a sort), and yet the guy on the Bridgeport could believe that he and Kennedy were very much alike. The weren't, and never were.

Posted by: Rhod at November 7, 2006 12:35 PM


Jack, second post, I agree. They can't acknowledge their defects any more than Isalmists. It isn't in The Word.

And Cousin Dave, classical liberalism is now hanging out with conservativism. A great point. I wish I'd said that.

Posted by: Rhod at November 7, 2006 12:40 PM

Well said Rhod! Your writing is on target for the BS I delt with in my business for 44 years. Then I retire from it and get a chance to listen more to the political world and feel the same frustrations. But this time I can yell at my screen instead of inside of it so to speak.
Your words have helped me to understand the why of how liberals can't get it.

Posted by: Angry Old Salt at November 7, 2006 08:32 PM