Just last week, many of those on the left, like Andrew Sullivan, were applauding Barack Obama’s conciliatory tone and acceptance of the viewpoint of the United States’ overseas Islamic adversaries.
But, as Peter Berkowitz recently noted, left liberalism has turned into a kind of secular religion that is in the domestic political context so sure of itself that it “transforms dissenters into apostates or heretics.”
Jonathan Chait, at New Republic, notes the peculiar foreign-vs.domestic discrepancy of the liberal approach to opposition.
It’s kind of funny how, when it comes to domestic politics, many liberals employ assumptions about human nature that are wildly at odds with the assumptions they use about human nature when it comes to foreign policy. When you read the liberal blogs on domestic politics, concessions to the enemy are always counterproductive, will must be met with will, etc. When you read them on foreign policy, all those assumptions are flipped on their head. I’m not saying that these two sets of assumptions are completely impossible to reconcile, but it is pretty odd how easily they sit together.
Personally, I think it has to do with self-hatred.
Liberals want to believe America’s foreign enemies are basically right, at least on the crucial issue of our being wrong.
There is no compromise with or forgiveness for domestic adversaries, because we are the expressive part of the American self that liberalism exists to turn against and destroy.