Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A Liberal Discovers that the Left "Hates Freedom"

An old-fashioned liberal, the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum, is shocked to find that the left's anti-Americanism has made them indifferent or even hostile to the cause of liberty, both in Ukraine and Iraq. But what should she expect? The defining characteristic of the left is its demand for the expansion of government control over everything, from economics to "hate speech" to campaign finance—and the same people showed a similar hostility toward global liberty during the five decades of the Cold War.

"The Freedom Haters," Anne Applebaum, Washington Post, December 1

"The larger point, though, is that the 'it's-all-an-American-plot' arguments circulating in cyberspace again demonstrate something that the writer Christopher Hitchens, himself a former Trotskyite, has been talking about for a long time: At least a part of the Western left—or rather the Western far left—is now so anti-American, or so anti-Bush, that it actually prefers authoritarian or totalitarian leaders to any government that would be friendly to the United States. Many of the same people who found it hard to say anything bad about Saddam Hussein find it equally difficult to say anything nice about pro-democracy demonstrators in Ukraine. Many of the same people who would refuse to condemn a dictator who is anti-American cannot bring themselves to admire democrats who admire, or at least don't hate, the United States. I certainly don't believe, as President Bush sometimes simplistically says, that everyone who disagrees with American policies in Iraq or elsewhere 'hates freedom.' That's why it's so shocking to discover that some of them do."