Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., has, under extreme pressure, tearfully retracted his comparison of American behavior at Guantanamo to the Nazis, Soviets and Pol Pot. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., has not retracted his barb following disclosures of detainee mistreatment at Abu Ghraib, about Saddam's torture chambers being "under new management, U.S. management." Michael Moore has not regretted his remark, uttered in the days after September 11, that "we have orphaned too many children . . . with our taxpayer funded terrorism . . . [so] we shouldn't be too surprised when those orphans grow up and are a little wacked in the head."
These comments are not aberrational. A measure of anti-Americanism has come to infect the left worldwide, and American liberals not only partake, they are the most assiduous popularizers of America hatred this side of Al-Jazeera.
I know that I have just committed a faux pas. We are all supposed to indulge the polite fiction that "no one is questioning their patriotism." And certainly it would be over-generalizing to suggest that all liberals are anti-American. But neither can there be any doubt that hostility to, suspicion of, and cynicism about this country are positively mainstream in liberal precincts; the Democratic Party, the universities liberals control, and in many crucial areas of American cultural life.
It continues to defy explanation why liberals, who theoretically love liberty, equality, tolerance and moderation, should find so much to despise in their own country, which represents the fullest expression of those virtues anywhere on the globe. Perhaps it is because, as Robert Frost said, "A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel." Some have speculated that the jingoism of World War I permanently soured the intellectual classes toward nationalism and inclined liberals toward reflexive criticism of their own societies. But this is unsatisfying because 1) it hasn't seemed to have this effect on the French or the Russians, and 2) liberals have shown great tenderness toward politically correct nationalisms, like Vietnam's and the Palestinians'.