Lefties love personalities. Romantic, mythic, cultic¹.
I’m motivated to find out why the Left cannot support the war. I think it may have to do with their love of romantic, mythic, and cultic personalities. They are casualties of what Steven RiCharde describes as those who would "rather read a map than read a book." Either unable or unwilling to listen to the thread of an argument, the Iconic Thinker prefers pictures--movies, tv, cartoons. "Show me!" All this time I thought they wanted clear argumentation. It turns out they want pictures. Iconography produces ads like "Daisy". It produces mythic candidates like Bobby Kennedy. Or today's field of candidates who lack experience, training, but trade image for trust.
In polite conversation I can ask, “Why do you oppose this war?” And in response I’ll hear, “How can you support War?”
In conversation, watching the news, reading the press releases, this equivocation², the tendency to re-define the starting place of an argument is always there and doesn't assist the conversation. As a Classic Liberal, I want to discuss the roots and origins of the current War in Iraq. As Lefties—they like referring to themselves as “Progressives”—when faced with a losing argument, it’s necessary for the Lefty to change the terms of the argument.
But I'm not embarrassed about my support for the Long War.
Jefferson had to deal with it. As the first President that had to stand up to Muslim beliefs, he was shocked to find that kidnapping and ransom were still practiced in the 19th century. Read news accounts from the day and compare what Jefferson had to deal with to what our current President is going through.
Roosevelt had to deal with it. Muslims ransoming Americans. Times were simpler. "I want Perdicarris alive or Rasuli dead." He then sent a cruiser. Foreign policy for dummies.
The '50's saw the twilight of what had been Western Civ's policing of Islamic extremism. Europe was failing. While American efforts at establishing democratic ideals as the cultural norm took place for Western Europe, dwindling European Imperialism took the lid off the box of Islamic extremism. It wasn’t the end of Europe’s attempt at regional hegemony. Britain and France were more than willing to intercede in the efforts at pan-Arabism by fellas like Nasser. If you recall, it was, in 1956, America that stepped forward in the United Nations to end that invasion. And it was Eisenhower’s reliance on the United Nation’s charter, and the appeal to universal rights of self-determination that rang the first toll of the end of Western influence in the East.
With the decline of European hegemony came the concomitant increase in Soviet hegemony. While Europe—French and English--invaded Egypt, Russia invaded Hungary. In 1956, America was able to stand up to "the Good Guys" but was faced down by "the Bad Guys". Under the United Nation's Charter, the Soviet proclaimed, Hungary had a "right to self-determination³". The Soviet Invasion was support, for the Hungarian Communist Party, for those rights. Prime Minister Nagy was arrested, a non-communist. Ergo standing in the way of “the rights of self-determination” of the Hungarian people and then executed two years later.
The lessons of "the Rights of Self-Determination" weren't wasted on the rest of the world. Move forward to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.
As President Carter idly sat by and watched, not only did he ignore one of the most potent anti-Soviet weapons--gained through diplomacy by President Ford and used to great effect by President Reagan--in his arsenal, the Helsinki Accords, he watched dumbfounded as Iran fell to the Mullahs and Afghanistan fell to the Russians.
You’ll still hear former-President Carter talk about “the rights of self-determination”. Remember this phrase: “the rights of self-determination”. It will come back to haunt you.
Up until then, what the world knew of Islamic terror had only been visited upon the Israelis, as it had in 1972 during the Munich Olympics. Terror in those days ranged from Red Brigades, the Baader Meinhof Gang, Black Panthers, and the "Patty Hearst Abduction". Ergo, the common thread to today's political mire.
To a vast majority of the political Left, the Romanticism of being in the Weather Underground, or a freedom fighter for Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, or yelling "Pig" at cops, this was Revolution, man! This kind of romantic thinking was exemplified by mainstream groups, e.g., the Presbyterian Church supporting Angela Davis. These new icons joined established Lefty icons, such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
Take a look at the famous "Class of '74". Those politicians who were elected for the first time to legislative posts either in state, statewide or congressional races.
So, on one hand, we have the UN Charter, proclaiming the rights of self-determination. And in 1974, the first election the Lefties would control, following the two-year debacle of the “First Gate” (Watergate), we had an election. The Left was fully embracing the “right of self-determination” ala post-Invasion Hungary. In Viet Nam, that meant that our efforts to bring democracy to Asia was just, simply, essentially, only, quintessentially, immorally, totally, only, Imperialism. These little brown men and women should seek to find their own form of government. Imposing the values of democracy was—and is—a form of Imperialism. Unknown to the winners of the “Mandate of 1974” was that the principle of individual merit and worth would be won on the world stage the following year.
It is these leaders, who now hold seats of leadership in state houses and in the Congress who are leading the debate against the Long War today. And they are best represented by the man, elected at their political nadir, President of the United States, James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. The “Human Rights” clause of the Helsinki Accords was a fundamental shift away from the accepted practice of “self-determination” under the UN Charter. In the first paragraph of Section One, VII, you read, “The participating States will respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”
This was new, international law. And it was important. According to Natan Sharansky, the Helsinki Accords signaled the end of Soviet oppression.
So, we have an historical turning point.
For Lefties? It’s still marching to the “International”. Anti-war, iconic, Bobby Seale, Winter Soldier, and “Nixon is a” whatever.
On the other hand, you have guys like Washington’s “Scoop” Jackson, Warren Magnuson, Barry Goldwater, Abe Ribicoff, Herman Talmadge, Bob Dole, Jacob Javits, Charles Percy, Mark Hatfield, Howard Baker, John Tower, Sam Nunn, James O. Eastland, William Roth, Hubert Humphrey, Stuart Symington, Mike Mansfield…Republicans and Democrats who knew what America stood for and in turn, stood for America.
And now, interposed among these American leaders is the Class of ’74; standing with the anti-war, anti-democracy, “right to self-determination” model of the Soviet, the terrorists of the Baader Meinhof, the Leftists of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
So what is the thread of Foreign Policy coming from these Lefties? Do they acknowledge Helsinki?
Let’s jump forward.
In the past decade we’ve been attacked by Iran, Iraq, Libya, and their proxies. An argument could be made that we’ve been attacked by the Saudis as well, but the discussion of Saudi policy versus governance would be lengthy, so I’ll just posit that the “official” Saudi position has been to support the United States as an ally. (Go ahead and rant off at this point. But what else are stipulations for, but to side-step the grease and go for the guts?)
During this period, the US has attempted peace-keeping. Negotiation. Bribery. Covert and direct aid. We’ve spilled American blood in Germany, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Israel, Egypt, Crete, Turkey, Indonesia, Yemen…all lost as a result of Islamic Terror. And the list isn’t complete. You’re forgetting the thousands killed on September 11, 2001.
But at that critical moment, a moment where America stood upon the world stage and made one of the greatest political and diplomatic victories of a century…just at that time in 1975 a coup de grace occurred on the world stage.
And a counter-coup occurred in America.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Just as it abhorred the political vacuum during the Carter years, government hates the political vacuum we’re dealing with in Congress right now.
And the counter-coup occurred when the men and women at the ramparts of democracy failed to believe in the dream of democracy. They have replaced the ideal of rationality, freedom of speech, with icons, myths and cultish beliefs. Today, to too many people, democracy is a failed policy. The dream of all the world’s people living with the rights to human dignity described by the Helsinki Accords is just another Imperialist, Rethuglican, War-mongering, neo-Nazi plot to subjugate and conquer.
Far be it for this writer to point out that sixteen years after the signing of the Helsinki Accords the Baltics would be free of the former Soviet Union, and that Communism would fall. In Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia…freedom and democracy are lived and practiced. Carter ignored the power of democracy. Carter lost.
And we lived through it. And we’ll live through this. More people will die as we fail to face up to the realities of the world we’re living in. Innocent people. People who didn’t choose to fight. That’s the cost of not living up to your responsibilities. People, real women, college kids, farmers, children get killed. And they will when the Lefties in Congress get their way.
Not that Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children want to fight. No one who knows war wants war. But when tasked with the mission, they choose to fight. They go into the battle with full knowledge of the cost of failure. Unlike the men and women of the Twin Towers. Or, the Achille Lauro. Or the men, women and children of Iraq, Kurd, Shia and Sunni. If we don’t choose the mission, the mission will choose us. I just hope few Iraqis will die because America chose not to stand with them.
Oh, and its funny the confluence of events. The “Class of ‘74” and the US Marines? John Murtha—corrupt but not convicted—was first elected to Congress in 1974. See why we study history?
¹Note that the authors of this "Wiki" reference have tried to preclude true definition with 'This article does not discuss "cult" in its original sense of "religious practice"'. It's important for the Left to constantly attempt to shift the meaning of words to "win arguments".
²Links provided in this essay do not constitute an endorsement of their content by this writer. Links are provided to show “starting places” for your own research into why Liberals and Lefties are at such cross-purpose.
³See note 6 on link provided, "Tass Soviet News Agency (24th October, 1956)"
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