“Juan Williams, NPR and the Death of Liberalism”
Here’s a bulletin, NPR: Lots and lots and lots of Americans feel the same way as Juan Williams. And that includes lots and lots of liberals. And probably a lot of liberals who work at NPR. Juan’s “crime” wasn’t that he said something bigoted. His crime is that he said something that liberals find politically incorrect. And that he said it out loud. And worst of all, that he said it on the Fox News Channel.
In liberal circles this is nothing less than a crime against humanity!
What makes this so crazy — and so sad — is that liberals are the open-minded ones, the ones who cherish the free exchange of ideas, the smart ones. And if you don’t believe me, just ask any liberal, who will be glad to tell you how smart and open-minded he or she is. But these are the kind of people who believe in “free speech” only as long as they agree with you.
I feel bad for Juan, He’s a good, decent man. His firing will make lots of other Americans think twice before they say something the boss may not like. And that’s not a good thing in a democracy that thrives on vibrant, sometimes controversial ideas.
But I feel worse for American liberals. Because what we have here is one more piece of evidence that too many of them have forgotten how to be liberal.
Only about 20 percent of Americans identify themselves as liberals. Liberalism was once a great American movement. It led the fight for civil rights, the most important issue, as far as I’m concerned, of the 20th century.
It’s a shame that liberalism is dying in this country. It’s an outright crime that liberals are killing it.
One suspects Goldberg’s feigned wonderment here is merely a rhetorical ploy — and that he, as well as every reader who’s visited this site with any degree of regularity, knows that what is now labeled “liberalism” hasn’t been liberalism since the New Left’s coup to take over the Democrat party.
Remember: the New Left hated the term liberalism at one time; it wasn’t until they changed their strategy — take over the Democrat party by pretending to take on its identity, and changing it from within — that they ever embraced “liberalism” as a label.
Yet label or no, it has been clear to anyone who pays attention that the self-styled liberals — and even those who mistakenly followed these new “liberals” out of habit, believing them the same liberal Democrats they’d always followed — no longer support actual liberal policy.
When I call myself a classical liberal, I’m reminding people that what liberalism really is is different than what it has now supposedly become under the label’s new stewards.
“Tolerance,” as a concept, has been inverted to punish actual tolerance — and instead has instituted de facto civic speech codes; in many of our academies, supposedly institutions dedicated to unbridled intellectualism, the “liberal” faculty and administrators have created out of the way zones for “free speech,” in effect admitting that the rest of the campus is not protected under the First Amendment (and of course, some of the faculty have even tried to ostracize those with whom they have political disagreements); the idea of a color-blind society, where equality of opportunity and equal protection under the laws is held to be the goal, has been reformulated as “racist,” with those who agitate for legal distinctions and set asides for certain protected identity groups pretending to champion civil rights; and on and on and on.
“Liberalism” in this country, where it truly exists, has migrated — as I did — to the right side of the political aisle. True liberals — classical liberals, today’s libertarians and legal conservatives — are depicted as “extremists,” nutty uneducated hicks who aren’t quite sophisticated enough to be forcing their silly prole snouts into big boy politics.
But when the left — under the guise of liberalism — begins calling 70% of the population “extremists” (be it for protesting a mosque or for insisting that Arizona has a right to defend themselves if the federal government won’t), simple math suggests that it is they who are extremists.
And a simple review of what classical liberalism embraces and instructs suggests that it is they who are the phony liberals.
related: Williams fired by phone, not given opportunity to defend himself.