But for those of us who believe that clarity is the prerequisite to moral progress, the landslide victory of the terrorist organization Hamas in Palestine has a silver lining.
First and foremost, it proves what people who perceive reality have been saying for decades: The great majority of Palestinians -- like the majority of Arabs elsewhere and like vast numbers of non-Arab Muslims -- want Israel destroyed. Even granting legitimacy to the argument that the complete moral, financial and political corruption of Fatah was partly responsible for the Hamas victory, those who voted for Hamas did not find that organization's terror, religious celebration of murder or charter calling for Israel's destruction an impediment to their vote.
It is true that in 1933, some Germans who voted for the Nazis did so out of anger at the Versailles Treaty and because of the economic chaos that engulfed their country. Indeed, it is widely agreed among historians that Hitler played down anti-Semitism in the Nazis' electoral campaigning. But every German voter was aware of the ferocity of the Nazis' Jew-hatred. And, whatever the case in 1933 Germany, in 2006 Palestine, Hamas has never played down its anti-Semitism or its support for continuing terrorism.
So the Palestinian vote reveals the falsity of the worldwide Left's view of the Palestinians as committed to peace. It likewise reveals the falsity of the Left's belief that Palestinian terror is supported by a small minority of the Palestinian population.
That is one reason why the Bush doctrine -- we need to spread democracy everywhere possible, including, or even especially, in the Arab world -- is so valid. You cannot deal with any problem in life -- from the most personal to the most macro -- by engaging in wishful thinking and denying reality.
Thanks to this election, the mask has been removed. When given the opportunity to express themselves, most Arabs and many Muslims elsewhere support terror and seek the annihilation of Israel. That is why the Hamas victory is such a defeat for the world's Left -- university professors, news media, socialist parties, the European Union, the United Nations, "peace" activists, editorial writers, and all other apologists for the Palestinians.
A personal anecdote will help illustrate this. Two years ago, thanks to the Hoover Institution at Stanford, I spent a week lecturing at the university. Coincidentally, Israel's Independence Day fell during that same week, and pro-Israel students asked me to speak at their rally honoring Israel.
In my remarks, I mentioned that the primary reason for the Arab-Israeli conflict was that the majority of Palestinians wanted Israel destroyed.
A woman who introduced herself as "a peace activist" walked over to me afterward and said I was wrong, that, in fact, the majority of Palestinians wanted peace with Israel. I asked her to go over to the Arab students who were attending a counter protest against Israel and ask them if they accepted the right of a Jewish state of Israel to exist. I bet her $5 they would say "no." She took the bet.
Fifteen minutes later, she came back to me.
"Well, who won the bet?" I asked.
"I don't know," she responded.
"What do you mean you 'don't know'? What did they say?"
"They all asked me, 'What do you mean?'"
Though not one Arab student answered "yes," she still didn't get it.
This peace activist, like other "peace activists" and just about everyone on the Left, lives in a state of wishful thinking. As director Steven Spielberg, commenting on the Arab-Israeli dispute, recently told Time magazine, "The only thing that's going to solve this is rational minds, a lot of sitting down and talking until you're blue in the gills."
On just about every issue, the Left lives in a childlike fantasy realm. Their views are expressions of what they wish for, not what actually is.
Here is a small sample:
-- Support for terror represents a tiny sliver of the Muslim world.
-- All cultures are essentially morally equivalent.
-- The United Nations is a wonderful institution and the best hope of mankind.
-- Men and women are basically the same.
-- It makes no difference whether children are raised by a loving man and woman or by two loving parents of the same sex.
-- Violent criminals in our society are pushed into crime by socioeconomic circumstances, not because of their own flawed characters and values.
-- War is not the answer.
The list of leftist positions based on a rejection of reality is as long as a list of leftist positions.
That's why it is often said that "a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged." But that, too, is wishful thinking. After some initial cognitive dissonance, the Hamas victory will have little or no impact on most leftists.
The day after the Hamas landslide, the Los Angeles Times editorialized, "Most Palestinians, like most Israelis, want peace." Sure they do. Just not with Israel.