The state of the liberal mind is on display on this week's cover of Time magazine.
The already notorious cover takes the iconic photograph of U.S. Marines planting the American flag on Iwo Jima and substitutes a tree for the flag. Why Time's editors did this explains much about contemporary liberalism.
The first thing it explains is that liberals, not to mention the left as a whole, stopped fighting evil during the Vietnam War. As I wrote in my last column, whereas liberals had led the fight against Nazism before and during World War II, and against Communism after the War, the liberal will to fight Communism, the greatest organized evil of the post-War world, collapsed during the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War did to American liberals what World War I did to most Europeans -- it rendered them anti-war rather than anti-evil.
That is why liberals have gone AWOL in the fight against Islamic totalitarianism. As during the post-Vietnam Cold War, when liberals fought anti-Communists much more than they fought Communists, they fight anti-Islamists much more than they fight Islamists. Thus, Democrats routinely dismiss the Bush administration's talk about the threat of Islamic terror as "scare tactics."
But -- and this is a primary reason for Time's cover -- liberals know that they have largely opted out of the fight against Islamists; their only passion on this matter is abandoning the war against Islamists in Iraq. But like nearly all people who believe in a cause, they know that they have to fight some evil -- after all, the world really seems threatened by something. So they have channeled their desire to fight threats to the world to fighting an enemy that will not hurt them or their loved ones -- man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
It is much easier to fight global warming than to fight human evil. You will be celebrated at Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, the BBC and throughout the media world, no one will threaten your life, there are huge grants available to scientists and others who fight real or exaggerated environmental problems, and you may even receive an Academy Award and the Nobel Peace Prize. Individuals who fight Islamists get fatwas.
The Time cover is cheap heroism. It is a liberal attempt to depict as equally heroic those who fight carbon emissions and those who fought Japanese fascists and Nazis.