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March 28, 2006

The Yale Taliban And The Permanent Opposition Culture

From yesterday's Best of the Web. The unthinking, reflexive contempt for anything the majority of Americans seems to believe is the precise analogue of jingoism. If jingoism is reflexively patriotic, this anti-jingoism is reflexively anti-patriotic.

In today's Yale Daily News, senior James Kirchick weighs in on the controversy over Yale's admission of erstwhile Taliban spokesman Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, and he makes a very insightful point:
Outrage over religious fascism ought to be the province of American liberals. But in Hashemi's case it has been almost entirely trumpeted by Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and right-wing bloggers. A friend of mine recently remarked that part of his and his peers' nonchalance (and in some cases, support for) Hashemi has to do with the fact that the right has seized upon the issue. Our politics have become so polarized that many are willing to take positions based on the inverse of their opponents'. This abandonment of classical liberal values at the expense of political gamesmanship has consequences that reach far beyond Yale; it hurts our national discourse.

During the past several years liberalism has come to be defined less by what it stands for than by whom it stands against. "The enemy of George Bush is my friend" might as well be the credo of American liberals at this moment in history. And since George Bush is the leader of our country, it follows that "the enemy of my country is my friend."

Correcting this may require waiting another three years, until Bush is out of office. In 2009 either a Democrat or a different Republican will be president. In the former case, liberals will have to act responsibly; in the latter, they will be forced to face the reality that hatred of Bush is not sufficient to win elections. Until then, brace yourself for more of the same.


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posted by Ace at 02:18 PM

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