E.J. Dionne’s ‘Old Liberalism’

by on August 25th, 2006

In an editorial in the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne analyzes liberalism’s ‘downside,’ but his conclusions are far too self-flattering and restrained. He lionizes David S. Brown’s biography of Richard Hofstadter, who was famous for his “icon-smashing approach to America’s heroes,” but argues that he went awry by emphasizing American populists “whose revolt was as much a reaction to the rise in the cosmopolitan big city as to economic injustice.”

Liberalism’s problems are far more profound because its tenets are not only antithetical to the vision of our Founding Fathers they also constitute a cynical and craven valuation of human nature. Beginning with its perverse understanding of economics, modern liberalism subscribes to the misguided notion that everyone ought to enjoy the same quality of life regardless of aptitude or work ethic, which inevitably leads them to the invidious policies of income redistribution, where certain people are rewarded for phantom efforts.

Dionne perfectly reflects this polity when he calls for an “active but restrained government” which is code for exploiting white guilt to afford minorities disparate treatment in everything from college entrance requirements to employment. The defense of the proverbial “underdog” is another perennial favorite with liberals, but there is absolutely no justice in their protocol for determining who qualifies. Indeed, they use anachronistic metrics such as race, ethnicity, and gender, none of which is a true measure of need.

On the cutting edge of liberalism is Juan Williams, whose new book “Enough” holds an unflattering mirror up to minorities, in particular blacks, and demands cultural accountability. In the vein of Bill Cosby, who was pilloried when he spoke out about the black culture of failure and blame, Williams, also a black, chastises his own by highlighting how liberal blacks stigmatize success as being “white,” and argues that disproportionate incarceration rates for blacks as well as out-of-wedlock childbirths and drop-out rates, are the product of aberrant values, not racism.

Add to this ignoble legacy liberalism’s barbaric embrace of abortion and nascent support for euthanasia, its enmity for the Second Amendment, and its timorous and reticent approach to national security, and it’s no wonder that their ranks are dwindling.

Mella is Founder and Editor of ClearCommentary.com.

Philip Mella