Robert F. Eaton Jr.
It is rare that a column gracing these pages espousing liberalism and condemning conservatism does so without resorting to the grossest sorts of hyperbole, half-truths, and brazen lies. Talking down from their ivory towers, full of bombast and self-righteousness, these demagogues of the American Left proclaim theirs as the one true political faith. They contend that only misguided, uninformed, or simply evil people would find virtue in any vision but their own, and the failures of their leaders and policies can thereupon be blamed. If they could only succeed in bringing the benighted American people out from the dark, and educate them with the Truth, then never again would a Republican be elected to office.
The slander casually tossed about regarding the Republican party and its constituents is nothing short of shameful -- the result of an unfortunate mix of passion for a cause, ignorance of the facts, and perhaps some measure of calculated deceit. They would have you believe that tenets of the Republican party include keeping women in the kitchen, gays in the closet, and blacks in the prisons, and that the American public has been duped into going along.
To compensate for their policy failures, liberals have chosen to adopt reactionary politics of fear intended to scare the American public away from the right. They paint vivid images of a Himmler-like John Ashcroft seeking to impose totalitarian control upon the actions and opinions of the American people, with police-state tactics and a shredding of the Constitution. Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush become hawkish warmongers who believe in war for the sake of war, and war for the sake of oil. Domestically, Democratic political advertisements have gone so far as to show Bush pushing the disabled down a sharp line representing a decline in Social Security and other entitlement funding. Republicans clearly want to rape the environment, abandon the poor and elderly, and give their savings to the rich.
In a tribute to their political savvy, the American people have not been swayed by these wild accusations. Their choices in the most recent election were educated ones that are a reflection of their satisfaction with the leadership of the Bush administration. Much as the Left treated it with derision, the President’s hard line on foreign policy has resulted in significant changes in the global scene. The phrase “axis of evil” was treated as childish ranting from an inexperienced leader, but realize this -- since that phrase entered the diplomatic vernacular, Iraq has submitted to inspections, North Korea has come clean about its nuclear program, and Iran’s theocracy is teetering on the brink of collapse. The willingness of the administration to work with both sides of the aisle has resulted in comprehensive changes to the government’s approach to education, taxation, and national defense, all of which are supported by the American people.
The simple fact is that, for the first time in decades, the plurality of the American people associate themselves with the Republican party. Liberals in the country are losing clout not because they lack a clear vision, or the guts to “stand up” to the President, but because their policies of the last decade have been an abject failure. They hitched their wagon to political correctness, expansion of entitlements, and appeasement of lunatic regimes, all of which have proven to be nags in a political climate searching for thoroughbreds. Democrats have failed not because they moved too far to the right, but because they moved too far to the left. Emboldened by American guilt over the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and the excesses of the 1980’s, they pushed forth an increasingly left-wing agenda that was no longer a reflection of the will of the people, but a pseudo-socialist vision of benevolent government taking care of its constituents.
Therein lies the intrinsic arrogance of modern liberals; their policy has been predicated on the notion that the American people are unable to make informed choices about their own lives, and thus mandate a government to guide them along the right path. They cannot be trusted to be unbiased and fair, so government must enforce affirmative action to ensure that they are. They are too irresponsible to save for their own futures, so government needs to take their money from them and lock it away, safe from their frivolous hands. They are unable to objectively look at their history, so government must shame them for the crimes of their forefathers. They make irrational choices when buying SUVs, or guns, or cigarettes, so government must eventually try to prevent them from buying any of the three. That Americans are disinclined to have such restrictions imposed upon them comes as an absolute shock to liberal politicians, who feel that Americans should be grateful for such efforts to mitigate their baseness.
It is perhaps the greatest irony of modern politics that while the Democrats paint the Republicans as the party seeking to strip Americans of their rights and liberties, it is they themselves who put forth legislation that most limit the freedoms of American citizens. It is not until liberals recognize and reconcile this fact that they will be able to win back the hearts, minds, and votes of the American people. Given modern liberals’ decidedly un-liberal tendency to outright reject any ideas but their own as crass and unenlightened, this won’t be happening any time soon.
Robert F. Eaton Jr. is a graduate student in Department of Chemistry.