What Does a Leftist Believe?

(Excerpt below from here)

Sometimes it is really hard to tell. I thought they abhorred gay-bashing, but look at Mark Foley. Fortunately, the Chicago Tribune offered us Geoffrey Stone's proposed definition of "what it means to be a liberal" in a recent op-ed.... Here are his ten principles, most of which almost anybody would aspire to, and which in Stone's estimation are predominantly adhered to by liberals. My responses include reference to material from the op-ed that further elucidates what he means by his principles.

1. "Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others".

Does Stone have a clue about the current political climate on college campuses? The hostility towards critics of affirmative action, defenders of Israel, supporters of George Bush, proponents of gun control, opponents of identity politics and a host of liberal sacred cows is palpable. It may be true that if conservatives were in the majority in academia they would behave the same way. But there is no way to find out, since the few that are there have mostly closeted their views.

2. "Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference."

He claims that liberals, and by implication liberals alone, continue to support the civil rights movement and affirmative action. But the civil rights movement of the sixties was not dealing with the same issues. In fact its purpose is very well summarized by President Kennedy's speech of June 11, 1963 where he declared, in response to a month of pro-integration demonstrations in Birmingham, "race has no place in American life." There is no way that the civil rights movement that ended legally enforced segregation was aimed at anything less than ending the practice of defining people by race. Much of what falls under the name of affirmative action, multiculturalism or diversity is aimed at putting it back.

3. "Liberals believe individuals have a right and a responsibility to participate in public debate. It is liberals who support the expansion of the franchise; the elimination of obstacles to voting, "one person one vote", limits on partisan gerrymandering; campaign reform; and a more vibrant form of free speech".

This is a selective reading of recent events. Certainly liberals are championing the cause of felons voting, opposing the use of picture identification on voter registration cards and making it easier for aliens to vote. These represent groups of voters who they have identified as likely to support their candidates. But they have also opposed the counting of absentee ballots of soldiers when it was in their interest and have of course aimed their voter registration drives primarily at groups of voters from whom they expect support. As for gerrymandering, one of the favorite liberal projects was the creation of majority African American congressional districts. The creation of these districts did in fact increase the number of African American members of Congress but also created more racial polarization and resulted in a net gain for the Republicans in Congress, a reason why Republicans were only too happy to go along with the racial gerrymandering.

4. Liberals believe "we the people" are the governors and not the subjects of government, and that government must treat each person with that in mind."

One of the rights that he asserts are supported primarily by liberals is the right of individuals to reproductive freedom. While it may be true that liberals are more strongly pro-abortion, there are plenty of conservatives who support it as well. Furthermore, his statement begs the question at the center of the abortion debate, namely, at what point does a fetus become a life? Professor Stone has nothing to say about that point. And there is nothing in his implicit dismissal of the pro-life opinion that a fetus is a human being that indicates that liberals have a great deal of respect for the opinions of others.

5. "It is liberals who believe government must respect and affirmatively safeguard the liberty, equality and dignity of each individual. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion the rights of racial, religious and ethnic minorities, political dissidents, persons accused of crime and outcasts of society. It is liberals who have insisted on the right to counsel, a broad application of the right to due process of law and the principle of equal protection for all people."

Sure, unless of course the accused are College Republicans, Duke Lacrosse players, Scooter Libby, a conservative candidate for tenure or a college faculty member accused of insensitive speech. For liberals, DNA testing is conclusive if it voids the convictions of minority accused felons but irrelevant if it exonerates privileged white students from dubious accusations of rape made against them. Liberals are also the champions of speech codes that make rules taking sides in disputes that involve people of different genders, race, ethnicity, abledness, sexual orientation, etc. Such rules stake out a group of protected classes and leave it to the imagination to presume that the others are unprotected classes. What do such laws have to do with the "equal protection of all people"?


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