sounded a clarion call for freedom in his second inaugural
address. Its sentiments were based on an assessment of the
world we live in that should be obvious. Modern technologies
of destruction are accessible to all governments and exclusively
to governments (because they are so expensive and require
sophisticated capabilities to produce). Modern terrorism
requires a base for ambitious operations that only nation-states
can provide. Hence, an impoverished wasteland like Afghanistan
can wreak incalculable devastation on the United States.
Hence, "the best hope for peace in our world, is the
expansion of freedom in all the world," which is the line
from the President's speech the White House is highlighting
if Al Gore had been President on 9/11 and not George Bush.
Suppose Gore had adopted the response of the Clinton administration
to terrorists attacks, had not declared war, and had not
invaded Afghanistan in a pre-emptive strike? Suppose Osama
bin Laden had been able to mount a second and third major
terrorist attack in the months following 9/11. Instead of
the $600 billion that was taken out of the American economy,
the figure might have been many times that. Confidence might
have been so shattered that a full scale economic collapse would
have followed, taking down the global economy along with
it. It is not too fanciful to imagine civil wars and coup
d'etats following in the wake of such an economic
disaster. It is not far-fetched to think that a nuclear power
like Pakistan might fall into radical Islamist hands.
Two paths define our future: chaos, tyranny and terror,
or expanding freedom and prosperity based on free markets
and free men.
It will probably
not be one or the other. There is no steady path to progress,
and there will never be a world without tyranny and conflict.
But our course must be to strengthen the one and combat the
other. Thus encouraging the Muslim world, and particularly
the Arab Muslim world, which is the heart of the global
terrorist threat -- to adopt democratic ways and to shine
the light of liberty into its culture of medieval darkness
is a pragmatic necessity for the future security of the civilized
world. That is the reality behind the President's address.
Only people in serious denial can be blind to this fact.
sounded a clarion call for freedom and liberals carped. That
was their virtually universal response to an inaugural
that ranks among the most inspirational speeches ever devlivered
by an American president.
Left -- the Left that calls itself progressive and identifies
its totalitarian goals with the seductive phrase "social
justice" -- hated the speech (naturally), along the
man who gave it. "The worst president ever" was one of the
milder slogans on a sign in the crowd that gathered along
Pennsylvania Avenue to trumpet their hate towards the inaugural
parade. But there was hardly a liberal organ in the nation
-- from the New York Times to the Washington
Post -- that did not find something to wring its hands
about in the president's speech. It was a Rohrshach moment.
This was a self-revelation, a testament to the reactionary
force that liberalism has become. The torch of freedom
has passed, as President Kennedy said in his own summons
to his countrymen to stand up for what is right. But it has
passed not to a nation united, as Kennedy fervently wished,
but to the conservative vanguard that still takes the
Founding spirit of the nation seriously, still rings
its Liberty Bell, and is prepared to stay the course
of the mission that inspired its birth.
so many words, is this truth of Inaugural Day 2005 encapsulated
in a report by the unsympathetic Los
Angeles Times: "On Thursday, Bush proclaimed in
his inaugural address that the central purpose of his
second term would be the promotion of democracy 'in every nation
and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in
our world' -- a quintessential neoconservative goal." The
defense of freedom, the advance of liberty -- this is the
agenda of "neo-conservatism." Who then are the conservatives?
Who are the reactionaries who would preserve the status
quo of tyrannies and repressive regimes like those of the
Taliban and Saddam Hussein? Who in America stands opposed
to the vision of freedom the President voiced? The answer
lies in the response to the President's words, which merely
echo their cumulative response to the President's deeds.
Today's reactionaries are those who call themselves
liberals and progressives, and who fill the ranks of the
anti-Bush Left. tOR