Fifty Years of anti-American Liberalism

In a fantastic summary article for The American Spectator titled “Fifty Years in America,” Tom Bethell makes some observations about what he has seen in his time in America including anti-Americanism liberalism. Born in Great Britian, Bethell came to the States in 1962 to study New Orleans jazz. Politics were not his primary interest, but by the time his biography on clarinetist George Lewis was published, interest in the music was waning—both from the performers and the listeners. Bethell became a journalist instead.

One of the things he noticed early on was an “automatic anti-Americanism of the liberals.” This “anti” attitude has not gotten any better in fifty years. Bethell notes:

Liberals adopt a perpetual fault-finding mode about their own country. For a while I kept quiet about this, lest I sound like a right-winger. Maybe, I now think, a quota of liberals should be exiled for two years to see how they like it somewhere else. Come to think of it, Peace Corps volunteers agree. Driven by idealism, with very little sense of how their own country works, they go abroad to instruct others. Some, in their naivete, undoubtedly do learn something. In 2011, an investigation by 20/20 found that over 1,000 young American women had been sexually assaulted while serving as Peace Corps volunteers abroad.

Bethell doesn’t hold back regarding his views about liberalism. He calls ‘em like he sees ‘em.

What do modern leftism (American liberalism) and communism have in common? Both are godless and egalitarian, but liberalism has “evolved.” Communists wanted to kill off capitalism, for example, but liberals know it must be preserved—in a highly taxed and regulated form. It must be permitted to create sufficient wealth to redistribute to favored groups—single mothers, minorities, college professors—if the system is to keep Democrats in office. Liberals want market outcomes to be “predictable.” Appeals to envy and blame heaped on the rich can also be used as a bludgeon, as Obama has shown.

This is a most important point. Liberals well understand that even in a pure democracy, their value is minimal: they can only give what they first take. Because of this, liberals must toe the line, keeping their radical views under wraps for their own preservation. “Blue-collar workers, once known as the working class, have shown they are not revolutionists. They aspire to join the middle class, not overthrow it. Think ‘Reagan Democrats.’ It’s intellectuals who are, and always have been, the core of the revolutionary party.” That is, it is the intellectuals who are actually out of step with the major part of the work force of this country.

According to Bethell, a huge wrench in the liberal-left ideology machine is the “revival of Islam.” He writes:

Islam today probably threatens us as much as international Communism once did, but with this big difference: The intellectuals, who often secretly admired Communism, loathe Islam. They are afraid—rationally afraid—of those who are willing to die for what they believe… Many [liberals] believe little more than that we should make women equal to men and make amends to the planet by ceasing to reproduce. Meanwhile we should feel free to enjoy ourselves by treating sex as fun without consequences. But these ignoble causes are not things liberals will die for and the Islamists probably know this.

Liberals are more than happy to have you live with the consequences of their worldview, but they are less inclined to do so themselves. If Bethell’s “Fifty Years in America” is any indication, the next fifty are going to be very interesting.