Whenever a liberal begins a peevish complaint with "of course, we all agree ..." your antennae should go up. This is how liberals couch statements they assume all Americans would demand they make, but which they secretly chafe at.
Liberal sophistry requires pretending they support, for example, sexual abstinence (for teenagers) and marriage (between heterosexuals); making abortion and drug use "rare"; America's winning the war on terrorism – and before that, winning the Cold War. Fascinatingly, their proposals for achieving these goals are invariably the opposite of what any normal person might think would work.
Instead of punishing bad behavior and rewarding good behavior, liberals often feel it is the better part of valor to reward bad behavior and punish good behavior. Of course, we all agree that Fidel Castro is a bad man. That's why we need to lift travel restrictions and trade with Cuba! Of course, we all agree that abortion should be "rare." That's why all reasonable regulations of abortion must be fought against like wild banshees! (One proven method of making something "rare" is to make it illegal.)
Their comically counterintuitive positions are inevitably backed up with long, complicated explanations about the dire risk of encouraging "hard-liners," the enemy's "paranoia," or clever points such as "teenagers will have sex anyway." The arguments not only make no sense ab initio, but openly contradict one another.
While pretending to oppose drug use, the New York Times has supported programs to give addicts needles, referring in a 1998 editorial to "some interesting new ideas" such as "needle exchanges." In the case of cigarettes, however, liberals enthusiastically embrace the otherwise mystifying concept of punishing bad behavior.
Thus, the Times has cheered on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's obsessive desire to outlaw smoking, referring to his proposed ban on smoking in bars as an attempt to close "a major loophole in the city's anti-smoking law." Aren't people going to smoke anyway? Why not make smoking "safe, legal and rare" – just like abortion?
The liberal clergy at the Times have criticized sex education programs that purport to discourage sexual activity among teenagers, while unaccountably neglecting to hand out condoms and scented candles.
Times theater critic Frank Rich has rhapsodically supported Joycelyn Elders' genius idea of teaching children to masturbate: "The more people talk about masturbation, the more fears can be dispelled among those young people." (Thirteen-year-old boys could probably teach him a few tricks.)
So it was striking that a recent op-ed piece in the Times opposed a Bush administration's plan to encourage marriage. Needless to say, it included the ritualistic disclaimer: "Of course, none of this is to say that marriage is not a wonderful institution." It seems that, in this one case, "we don't need government programs to convince people ... that marriage is good for them."
We do, however, urgently need government programs to teach them that dying of AIDS is bad for them. (At least, we finally have the left on record opposing some federal government program other than national defense and an independent counsel investigating a Democrat.)
Currently, liberals pretend to be rooting for America in the war on terrorism. To show their support, they oppose America doing anything. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said: "We are all prepared to give the men and women in law enforcement the latitude necessary to protect our nation." Despite what "we all" support, Durbin said using appearance to sort potential terrorists from non-terrorists "reflects not only poor judgment, but poor law enforcement."
Really? Which law enforcement experts concluded that surveilling angry Middle Eastern men with smoke pouring out of their trousers would be "poor law enforcement"? Seems unlikely. For some reason, liberals think it's fun to give Arab terrorists a chance.
Democrats claim to support invading Iraq – just not yet! As the Associated Press recently reported, "the Democrats always preface comments on Iraq with a general statement that Saddam must go." Of course, we all agree that Saddam must go. But first – there are many worthless objections to be raised.
Sore loser Al Gore has said that before invading Iraq we need to establish peace in the Mideast, create a perfect Jeffersonian democracy in Afghanistan, and get the American-hating French and Germans on board. Also invent cold fusion and put a man on Mars. Then will the time be ripe for a pre-emptive attack!
Liberals also carped pointlessly about the war in Afghanistan last fall. Their principal complaint was that we were going to lose. Among many, many other liberals, columnist Maureen Dowd raised the specter of Vietnam and called Afghanistan "another quagmire." She said that Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem "may be the last to know that Afghanistan is a stubborn and durable place."
After we routed the Taliban approximately five minutes later, Dowd said, "The liberation of Afghanistan is a wonderful thing, of course." Of course. And something you said we couldn't do.
"Of course, we all agree" always means liberals don't agree, but are under no illusions about the popularity of what they really believe.