If I pointed out that involvement in every major 20th-century conflict the US was part of occurred on liberals’ watch, it might not be entirely fair. True, there was WWI under Wilson, WWII under FDR, Korea under Truman, and Vietnam under Kennedy and Johnson. But the second Great War needed to be fought, four conflicts aren’t exactly a scientific sample, and some could contend that these men were, to some extent, victims of timing and circumstance. It also should be said that with modernity’s characteristic flaw of relativism causing ever shifting social visions, yesterday’s liberals aren’t like today’s. As to this, some may mention that it’s a tad tendentious to limit the conflict timeframe to the 20th century, with George W. Bush getting us into Iraq and Afghanistan. But like his father, Bush was always a traditional statist, an old-line liberal in the mold of JFK. Moreover, our Middle East adventures weren’t quite like Korea or Vietnam: the wars were won fast. The problem was winning the peace.
But, fair enough, the historical record itself isn’t sufficient to indict liberals as warmongers. No matter, though, because I don’t claim liberals are warmongers. They are ignorance and naïveté mongers.
Avoiding disastrous war is the stuff of foreign policy, and foreign policy involves dealing with other humans; as such, it can only be as good as your understanding of human nature. Thus, just as in the schoolyard or the street, your ability to avoid disastrous international fights will be commensurate with your understanding of human nature. Can you read people — some of whom are potential threats — well? Can you differentiate between a gathering storm that needs to be nipped in the bud and a situation exacerbated by meddling? Do you know what’s your business and what isn’t? Can you strike the balance between projecting the strength that deters aggression and seeming as a threat yourself? Complicating matters is that foreign policy is about dealing with foreign human beings, people sharing your basic nature but not your basic conception of the world.
Given this, it’s clear that a leader can only avoid unnecessary or disastrous war insofar as he grasps man’s nature. And how do liberals measure up in this area?
During the 1990s budget battles, liberals said that with the alleged Republican “budget cuts,” the elderly would have to eat dog food to afford medicine. Spoofing this, radio host Rush Limbaugh said that he purchased a new can opener for his mother “so that she can get the dog food easier when she has to eat it.” The next day, liberal Congresswoman Pat Schroeder took to the House floor and said, flabbergasted, “[T]his is what it’s come to! …Rush Limbaugh actually said he’s going to buy his mother a can opener so she can have dog food. Wow!”
Yeah, wow. Schroeder took seriously the most obvious of jokes. Talk about an inability to read people. Talk about a foreign human being.
Exhibit B: at a 1990s feminist conference in my area, I made a rather articulate statement during the question-and-answer session, prompting some agitated feminist organizers to subsequently approach me and ask if I represented some group. Finding me unpalatable, they ultimately begged out of the conversation by offering to send me literature and asking for my address. I consented but quipped, “As long as you don’t send a hit squad to my house.”
You guessed it. Schroederesquely, they took me seriously and said sternly, “We don’t do things like that.” Bizarre. Just bizarre.
Then I think of Charles Jenkins, an American soldier who spent 39 years in North Korean captivity. After finally returning to the US, he said about his arch-leftist captors, “[W]hen you lie they think you are telling the truth, and when you tell the truth they think you are lying. You learn real quick to say no when you mean yes, and yes when you mean no.” I guess the North Koreans are just like our leftists — only more so.
My last example concerns the nuclear-war scare of 1983. When the CIA reported that the Soviets actually thought NATO command-post exercise Able Archer 83 might be a prelude to a nuclear attack, President Ronald Reagan was shocked. Reagan’s deputy CIA director Robert Gates would later write, “Was the Soviet leadership so out of touch that they really believed a preemptive attack was a real possibility?”
Yes, they were.
They were leftists.
Of course, it’s no put-down to mention that just as the Soviets misread Washington, Reagan and, it appears, all his advisors misread the Soviets. We all fail in this regard at times, mistaking a joke for a serious comment, taking offense when none was intended or something else. Discernment is a continuum. But while some people occupy the Amazing Kreskin end of the scale, others populate the Schroeder end. And having such a person in power can mean the bitter end.
And what of Obama? Is he at all a mind-reader or just a Teleprompter reader? He misread ISIS, calling it the “JV team.” He misread the tribalistic, Muslim humans in Iraq, saying they had a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant” “representative government.” He misread the Middle East in general, stating “the tide of war is receding.” As the usually sympathetic New York Times wrote about the president, “Time and again, he has expressed assessments of the world that in the harsh glare of hindsight look out of kilter with the changed reality he now confronts.”
Moreover, just last week Obama said in Estonia that an attack on that nation (alluding to Russian aggression) would be considered an attack on all of NATO and be met with the “armed forces of the United States of America.” Huh? As Pat Buchanan pointed out, such a statement about Russia’s sphere of influence is unprecedented and is something Obama’s “Cold War predecessors would have regarded as certifiable madness.” Would the president really risk nuclear war over tiny Estonia? Was it prudent to enter Vladimir Putin’s backyard and saber rattle? Was Obama wise to send the message that he’s either the world’s worst bluffer or its most insane leader?
But, again, liberals are the Braille bunch of human understanding. Just consider their prescriptions for deterring criminals, disciplining children, interpreting sexual inclinations or perceived statuses, encouraging productivity, avoiding nuclear war (unilateral disarmament), dealing with bullies in schools, thwarting school shootings (gun-free zones) or just about anything else that involves understanding man’s nature. Like old Patsy, who mistook a most comedic comment for the most serious callousness, they don’t just get others wrong — they get things completely backwards.
Why is this? Because liberals live lives of rationalization, something debating them reveals. You can make an airtight point and a leftist not only won’t cede it, he’ll disgorge a completely absurd denial of reality. Of course, that’s what a rationalization is: when you lie to yourself, bend reality for yourself. And when you deny reality habitually, year after year — refusing to see one pixel here, another there, and a thousand others in different places — you never assemble enough elements of reality to see the big picture; this is called being out of touch with reality. Yet living in a Matrix of his own design, the person doesn’t know he’s thus detached. But the consequence is that he has difficulty discerning truth; he misreads people, events, life, the Universe and everything.
What explains liberals’ propensity for rationalization? Note here that by “liberals” I mean people who are relativists, who don’t believe in Absolute Truth, because this defines liberals (generally speaking) at the deepest level: the philosophical. And while we all may rationalize, there is a difference. If a person believes in Truth, he’ll likely care about it and be less likely to deny one of its inconvenient or uncomfortable aspects. He’ll be wont to say, “Okay, I don’t like reality here, but, heck, the Truth’s the Truth; I’ll just have to man up and accept it.” He also may understand, or at least sense intuitively, that denial of Truth is a moral defect.
But the person fancying that morality is just values and values are man-made, that everything is relative, approaches things differently. You can’t be denying Truth if Truth doesn’t exist; you’re just denying a different perspective. Moreover, even in matters of outright deception, such as peddling forged documents damaging to George W. Bush, what of it? A lie can’t be any worse than the “truth” in a relativistic universe. For everything there boils down to occultist Aleister Crowley’s maxim, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
So what can we expect from our detached-from-reality ignorance mongers? Well, pondering this I’m reminded of a woman whose somewhat liberal husband would be namby-pamby with their son, let him take too many liberties and allow the tension to build, until he would explode and react to the boy inappropriately. That’s the danger with leftists. If anyone would get us into a really big war, it would be someone who misreads situations and other people, fails to take necessary preventive action, and then reacts rashly. It would be a liberal.
Of course, the bigger problem is the detached ignorance mongers who would elect an Obama — twice. But, hey, perhaps they can persevere if they maintain their ability to rationalize. After all, with the onset of a nuclear winter, there would be no reason to worry about global warming.
The Moral Liberal Associate Editor, Selwyn Duke, is a columnist, public speaker and Internet entrepreneur whose work has been published widely. He has been featured on the Rush Limbaugh Show, is a regular guest on The Michael Savage Show, and has a regular column in both the Christian Music Perspective Magazine and The New American magazine. Copyright © 2014 Selwyn Duke