As we read the news about this Pakistani jackal who admits to planning a cowardly assault on hundreds of innocent people in New York’s Times
Square, a thought that occurs to me is how endlessly interesting history is. Often things take place that one never would have imagined.
For most of the last decades of the 20th century, America girded its loins to defeat world communism, at the time led by the Soviets and Chinese. We lived in fear of nuclear holocaust. We feared Soviet domination. Once our partners in thwarting Nazi domination of the West, the Soviets had replaced the Nazis as our enemies. Their war machine was even more deadly. It could bring down on the globe eternal night. We annually expended up to 9 percent of our gross domestic product to protect ourselves. We devised policies to neutralize Soviet aggression. Finally, when President Reagan faced down the Soviets with a vast arms buildup and a resolute, albeit flexible, foreign policy, his liberal critics warned that we faced nuclear world war.
Of a sudden, the Soviet Union collapsed. And what was the liberals’ response? Well, it was one of history’s surprises. The liberals announced that the Soviet Union had been a paper tiger all along. It had been destined to collapse from day one. All our military appropriations were a waste of money. Oh yes, and one other surprising detail. It was not Reagan’s vigilance and resolve that had ended the Cold War but Mikhail Gorbachev’s good sense - though practically every one of his policies and policy pronouncements had been a failure. In, say, 1985, if you had asked me what the national response in America would be at the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union by the end of the decade, I would have predicted national jubilation. I would have predicted that liberals (many of whom, certainly up through the Johnson administration, were vigilant opponents of communism) would join with conservatives in a general feeling of good will. Both could take credit for their successful defense of democracy against tyranny. Instead, the liberals told us our efforts against the Soviets had been a waste.
Surprise, surprise - yet the liberals’ response to Islamofascism surprises me more. Islamic terror is anti-Western, anti-democratic, fundamentalist, reactionary, nihilistic and repressive of some of liberalism’s supposedly favored groups: women, gays and household pets, namely dogs living indoors. It also is fascism with a Koranic-prescribed beard and burka. Yet the liberals do not even want to use the term “Islamic terror.” The mosque is about the only house of prayer for which they have any sympathy. They depict the Tea Party movement as more troubling than fundamentalist Islam protesting in the streets.
Just hours after this Islamic brute attempted to kill the peaceful denizens of Times Square, many of whom doubtless were followers of Islam, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg speculated to the press that the perpetrator of this attempted atrocity was “a homegrown, maybe a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something.” Later, there was more. He would not tolerate “bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.”
Now the mayor was manifesting the liberals’ time-honored suspicion of his fellow Americans. Those of us who have studied the liberals’ bugaboos as they pollute our political culture (we call the phenomenon kultursmog) are familiar with this idiocy. We saw it during the Cold War when suspicion of communist infiltration of government was described by many liberals as a senseless “red scare.” With the release of the Venona files and of research from the KGB’s archives, we now know many of the accused reds were, in fact, communist spies. We also saw the liberals’ suspicion of ordinary Americans - or at least conservative Americans - when their first suspects after a communist assassinated President Kennedy were unnamed Dallas conservatives. Now the mayor’s first suspects upon the discovery of a bomb in Times Square are opponents of the health care monstrosity.
Returning to the liberals’ sympathetic treatment of fundamentalist Islam, let me proffer an explanation. Liberals are sympathetic to it because it is anti-American and anti-Western. In fact, that is the only explanation. Liberals such as Mr. Bloomberg are not very comfortable with their fellow Americans. That is one of history’s surprises.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His new book is “After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery” (Thomas Nelson, 2010).