Monday, March 07, 2005

Why Liberalism Has a Bad Name

Here's the reason liberal has become a dirty word. Because Communists, fellow-travelers, pro-terrorists and terrorist sympathizers have hijacked the word liberal and because organs like the New York Times have abetted them, using "liberal" to describe anti-American radicals and even totalitarian radicals like Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Michael Moore, the organizers of the anti-Iraq and pro-Saddam "peace" movement, and Katrina vanden Heuvel and The Nation.

The nation's last truly liberal leader, a pro-Vietnam-war Democrat named Hubert Humphrey, had his presidential chances destroyed by the pro-Communist Tom Hayden and the Yippes nearly 40 years ago. Hayden, who even today is working to defeat America in Iraq, is invariably referred to by institutions like the New York Times as a liberal.

Wrong. I am a liberal – a believer in free markets and free individuals, a supporter of intellectual diversity on college campuses against the opposition of the ACLU, the AAUP, The Nation, and the progressive left generally (with one exception known to me).

When the cultural arbiters like the Times stop referring to totalitarians and anti-American radicals as liberals, the good name of liberalism will start the long road back to being a good name. Peter Beinart has made a stab at beginning this process. But if he continues to be cowed by the likes of Katrina vanden Heuvel, he's not going to get very far.