May 10, 2007 | Lecture on Political Thought
Delivered on March 5, 2007
BECKY NORTON DUNLOP: The Heritage Foundation has a very fine reputation for excellent research and writing on policy issues that are facing our nation and our world, focusing on Capitol Hill. One of the things that we have talked about in some of our work and with some of our speakers is the challenge that we face in our culture.
So we've decided to do something about that in this year of 2007, and what we've decided to do about it in the External Relations Department is to bring some people to our podium who have worked in the entertainment world: people who have a profession that is recognized and well received but come from a perspective on the culture that doesn't get widespread coverage, let's say, in today's mainstream media.
We aim to change that. We think some of the people and some of the productions that we're going to be bringing to Heritage in 2007 are ones that more and more people should see and hear and messages from people that need to be told to the mainstream, and you're going to hear them first here at The Heritage Foundation.
Evan Sayet has written and/or produced in virtually every medium there is. He started out as a stand-up comic. Very few are successful, but Evan has been successful at that. He was quickly spotted by David Letterman and offered a spot on a special episode featuring young talent. He then moved into writing, and he was an integral part of the team that made the "Arsenio Hall Show" the first late-night program in 30 years to give the "Tonight Show" a run for its money.
Then he moved to a very interesting assignment called "Politically Incorrect" with Bill Maher. After that, Evan wrote and produced the highest-rated special in the Learning Channel's history, "The 70's: From Bellbottoms to Boogie Shoes." He perfected the book for a musical comedy, wrote a screenplay optioned by Penny Marshall, and even tried his hand at game shows as the original writer of the cult classic, "Win Ben Stein's Money."
The latest twist in Evan's career came during the recent presidential elections when he turned his attention and skills toward convincing others of the greatness of America and the need to reelect President Bush and to stay the course in the Middle East. In a short time, Evan was made the communications director for Los Angeles for President Bush. He wrote a number of articles about this for major conservative outlets and later was asked to offer weekly commentary on KMJ Radio. He also began delivering the lecture that he's going to be delivering to us today.
He now is among Los Angeles's most in-demand speakers, a political pundit recognized by Dennis Prager as brilliant for his take on the unique power of the Judeo-Christian culture and singled out by Rush Limbaugh for his explanation of why Liberals lie. Evan is signed with one of the country's top speakers bureaus and has recently been booked at the highly prestigious Lincoln Club, whose monthly roster of speakers has included people such as Ken Starr, former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, and the Consul General of Israel.
At around that same time, Evan returned to his first love, stand-up comedy, only now with a decidedly conservative twist. He has been the headliner of a night of conservative comedy called "Right to Laugh" and is now planning a series of one-nighters around the country. He recently appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference and was well received by his audience on a night when there were many luminaries on the stage. He will soon produce his first CD, "Funny, You Don't Look Conservative."
Becky Norton Dunlop is Vice President for External Relations at The Heritage Foundation.
EVAN SAYET: I call myself a 9/13 Republican. I grew up a liberal New York Jew; you don't get much more liberal than that--although it was lower-case "l," not what's considered Liberal today. I graduated from high school knowing only one thing about politics: that Democrats are good and Republicans are evil.
I tell a story. It's not a true story, but it helps crystallize my thinking that brought me to become a conservative. I say: Imagine being in a restaurant with an old friend, and you're catching up, and suddenly he blurts out, "I hate my wife." You chuckle to yourself because he says it every time you're together, and you know he doesn't hate his wife; they've been together for 35 years. He loves his daughters, and they're just like her. No, he doesn't hate his wife.
So you're having dinner, and you look out the window and spot his wife, and she's being beaten up right outside the restaurant. You grab your friend and say, "Come on, let's help her. Let's help your wife," and he says, "Nah, I'm sure she deserves it." At that moment, it dawns on you: He really does hate his wife.
That's what 9/11 was to me. For years and years I'd hear my friends from the Left say how evil and horrible and racist and imperialistic and oppressive America is, and I'd chuckle to myself and think, "Oh, they always say that; they love America." Then on 9/11, we were beaten up, and when I grabbed them by the collar, and I said, "Come on, let's help her. Let's help America," and they said, "Nah, she deserves it."
At that moment, I realized: They really do hate America. And that began me on what's now a five-plus-year quest to try to understand the mindset. How could you possibly live in the freest nation in the history of the world and see only oppression? How could you live in the least imperialist power in human history and see us as the ultimate in imperialism? How could you live in the least bigoted nation in human history and, as Joe Biden said, "see racism lurking in every dark shadow"?
Over the next five years, what I came to think through, what I came to learn, what I came to find in conversations and studying, listening, and reading became this talk and very soon will be the book Regurgitating the Apple: How Modern Liberals "Think."
I assume that just about everybody in this room agrees that the Democrats are wrong on just about every issue. Well, I'm here to propose to you that it's not "just about" every issue; it's quite literally every issue. And it's not just wrong; it's as wrong as wrong can be; it's 180 degrees from right; it is diametrically opposed to that which is good, right, and successful.
What I discovered is that this is not an accident. This is part of a philosophy that now dominates the whole of Western Europe and the Democratic Party today. I, like some others, call it Modern Liberalism. The Modern Liberal will invariably side with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success. Give the Modern Liberal the choice between Saddam Hussein and the United States, and he will not only side with Saddam Hussein; he will slander America and Americans in order to do so. Give him the choice between the vicious mass murderer corrupt terrorist dictator Yasser Arafat and the tiny and wonderful democracy of Israel, and he will plagiarize maps, forge documents, engage in blood libels--as did our former President Jimmy Carter-- to side with the terrorist organizations and to attack the tiny democracy of Israel.
It's not just foreign policy; it's every policy. Given the choice between promoting teenage abstinence and teenage promiscuity--and believe me, I know this from my hometown of Hollywood--they will use their movies, their TV shows, their songs, even the schools to promote teenage promiscuity as if it's cool: like the movie American Pie, in which you are a loser unless you've had sex with your best friend's mother while you're still a child. Conversely, NARAL, a pro-abortion group masquerading as a pro-choice group, will hold a fund-raiser called "'F' Abstinence." (And it's not just "F." It's the entire word, because promoting vulgarity is part of their agenda.)
So the question becomes: Why? How do they think they're making a better world? The first thing that comes into your mind when trying to understand, as I've so desperately tried to understand, is that if they side always with evil, then they must be evil. But we have a problem with that, don't we? We all know too many people who fit this category but who aren't evil: many of my lifelong friends, the people I grew up with, relatives, close relatives.
If they're not evil, then the next place your mind goes is that they must just be incredibly stupid. They don't mean to always side with evil, the failed and wrong; they just don't know what they're doing. But we have a problem with this as well. You can't say Bill Maher (my old boss) is a stupid man. You can't say Ward Churchill is a stupid man. You can't say all these academics are stupid people. Frankly, if it were just stupidity, they'd be right more often. What's the expression? "Even a broken clock is right twice a day," or "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and again."
But if they're not stupid and they're not evil, what's their plan? How do they think they're making a better world by siding with Saddam Hussein, by keeping his rape and torture rooms open, by seeking the destruction of a democracy of Jews? I don't know if you've seen the list going around the Internet of all the Nobel Prize-winning scientists from this tiny state of Israel. How do they think they're making a better world by promoting to children behaviors that are inappropriate and cause diseases and unwanted pregnancies and ruin people's lives? How do they think they're making a better world?
What I discovered is that the Modern Liberal looks back on 50,000 years, 100,000 years of human civilization, and knows only one thing for sure: that none of the ideas that mankind has come up with--none of the religions, none of the philosophies, none of the ideologies, none of the forms of government--have succeeded in creating a world devoid of war, poverty, crime, and injustice. So they're convinced that since all of these ideas of man have proved to be wrong, the real cause of war, poverty, crime, and injustice must be found--can only be found--in the attempt to be right.
If nobody ever thought they were right, what would we disagree about? If we didn't disagree, surely we wouldn't fight. If we didn't fight, of course we wouldn't go to war. Without war, there would be no poverty; without poverty, there would be no crime; without crime, there would be no injustice. It's a utopian vision, and all that's required to usher in this utopia is the rejection of all fact, reason, evidence, logic, truth, morality, and decency--all the tools that you and I use in our attempts to be better people, to make the world more right by trying to be right, by siding with right, by recognizing what is right and moving toward it.
When this first started to dawn on me, I would question my Liberal friends--and believe me, there were plenty of them in Hollywood. The thing about Hollywood is that it is overwhelmingly Liberal: upper-case "L," not lower-case "l." There are a lot more of us conservatives than you would suspect, but they are afraid. It's hard to come out because what's so Orwellian--and virtually everything about this philosophy is Orwellian--is that the Liberals are as illiberal as you can imagine. As much as they scream "McCarthyism," there is a "graylist" there that sees people not get hired because they don't toe the Leftist line.
What you have is people who think that the best way to eliminate rational thought, the best way to eliminate the attempt to be right, is to work always to prove that right isn't right and to prove that wrong isn't wrong. You see this in John Lennon's song "Imagine": "Imagine there's no countries." Not imagine great countries, not imagine defeat the Nazis, but imagine no religions, and the key line is imagine a time when anything and everything that mankind values is devalued to the point where there's nothing left to kill or die for.
Obviously, this is not going to happen overnight. There are still going to be religions, but they are going to do their best to denigrate them. There are still going to be countries, but they will do what they can to give our national sovereignty to one-world bodies. In the meantime, everything that they teach in our schools, everything they make into movies, the messages of the movies, the TV shows, the newspaper stories that they pick and how they spin them have but one criterion for truth, beauty, honesty, etc., and that is: Does it tear down what is good and elevate what is evil? Does it tear down what is right and elevate what is wrong? Does it tear down the behaviors that lead to success and elevate the ones that lead to failure so that there is nothing left to believe in?
You might recognize this as the paradigm and the purpose of one of the most successful Liberal motion pictures of all time, Fahrenheit 9/11. There's nobody who believes Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was an honest attempt to portray the real events of that horrific day and its aftermath. Everybody knows that Michael Moore is a Leftist and that it was a propaganda film in which the facts were cherry-picked, the evidence manipulated, the narrative near-lunatic, all for one purpose. The question that we were debating at the time was, "Should we go to war against the Iraqi government, against Saddam Hussein?" So he used all the tricks and manipulations and lies that he could to show that America isn't that good, that America isn't worth fighting for, that Saddam Hussein isn't that evil and not worth fighting against, for the purpose of undermining our efforts to go to war.
Again, there is quite literally nothing in Hollywood, in the newspapers, in our schools that does not have this as its sole criterion. For example, there is no journalistic standard by which the misdeeds of a handful of night guards at an obscure prison for terrorists--misdeeds in which nobody was killed and nobody was seriously hurt--ought to be a front-page story in The New York Times. Not for a single day. Yet, for 44 straight days, this non-story was a front-page story in The New York Times. Why? Because while it met no journalistic standard, it met the one and only Modern Liberal standard: "You think America's good? We found something that's going to make you not believe that any longer. You think that the Islamic fascists are bad? No, no, no, this is why they do it. No wonder they fly airplanes into our buildings."
And that's just one of so many other examples. There was no journalistic standard by which Newsweek printed the story of Korans being flushed down the toilet. Not only was it a bogus story, it never happened--it was an impossible story. Think about it: Can you flush a book down the toilet? Even a five-year-old would know that you can't flush a book down the toilet; you can't fit a square peg into a round hole. So why did Newsweek run a story that was not only bogus, but that failed to meet even the most obvious logic? Because nothing matters to them. There is no standard, because a standard would require them to say something is better than something else, which goes against this entire philosophy. It met the one and only criterion of truth to Newsweek, which was that it attacked America and justified the Islamic fascist terrorist.
The same thing is true in the art world. There is no artistic standard, no aesthetic criterion by which-- forgive me--a jar of urine with a cross in it is beautiful. There is no aesthetic criterion by which the curators of the museum said, "Take down the Monet and put up the urine," but it met the one and only standard of art that exists to the Modern Liberal.
Similarly, the movies last year met no criterion of storytelling and no criterion of cinematography. The five nominees for Best Picture met one criterion. Brokeback Mountain said heterosexual marriage isn't that important; go be a homosexual if you choose. Munich said there is no difference between the terrorists and the people who stop them from murdering again. And if you look at the other pictures as well, ultimately with Crash winning, Crash said America is this evil, horrible nation where every moment of every day is filled with bigotry and racism.
There truly is no standard, no criterion for truth, beauty, justice, or anything else amongst the Modern Liberals, the dominant force in today's Democratic Party: not all Democrats, but those who will mindlessly accept without question, without doubt, that of course we went into Iraq to steal their oil because that's what America does; no need to even consider any other possibility. Not everyone who voted for John Kerry and who fits that description is aware of the elite's blueprint for utopia, and I don't think some of them would support it if they were.
What the elite have succeeded in doing through the institutions we've allowed them to control--and if we're going to save America, we must take back the schools, the universities, the media, the entertainment industry--is indoctrinating, starting with the very young and going all the way up through college and beyond, starting the first time they turn on "Sesame Street" and "Buster Bunny," going up through the middle years when they're told, "Hey, little boy, if you have a queer eye, you're going to be a cool guy," or, "Hey, little girl, it doesn't matter how cool you are; if you grow up to be a heterosexual married woman, you're going to be a desperate housewife."
So many of the other shows that are on the air show family and marriage and all the things that are traditional and that we recognize as good--shows like "The War at Home" and "Rules of Engagement"--as if it's another battle. They wouldn't allow "Make Room for Daddy" and shows like those because they were not realistic, so instead we now have the Bundys, where the mother and father hate each other and are looking to get as much as they can from each other, and this whole mindset. And it continues on through Ward Churchill's ethnic studies class.
What happens is, they are indoctrinated into what I call a "cult of indiscriminateness." The way the elite does this is by teaching our children, starting with the very young, that rational and moral thought is an act of bigotry; that no matter how sincerely you may seek to gather the facts, no matter how earnestly you may look at the evidence, no matter how disciplined you may try to be in your reasoning, your conclusion is going to be so tainted by your personal bigotries, by your upbringing, by your religion, by the color of your skin, by the nation of your great-great-great-great-great grandfather's birth; that no matter what your conclusion, it is useless. It is nothing other than the reflection of your bigotries, and the only way to eliminate bigotry is to eliminate rational thought.
There's a brilliant book out there called The Closing of the American Mind by Professor Allan Bloom. Professor Bloom was trying to figure out in the 1980s why his students were suddenly so stupid, and what he came to was the realization, the recognition, that they'd been raised to believe that indiscriminateness is a moral imperative because its opposite is the evil of having discriminated. I paraphrase this in my own works: "In order to eliminate discrimination, the Modern Liberal has opted to become utterly indiscriminate."
I'll give you an example. At the airports, in order not to discriminate, we have to intentionally make ourselves stupid. We have to pretend we don't know things we do know, and we have to pretend that the next person who is likely to blow up an airplane is as much the 87-year-old Swedish great-great-grandmother as those four 27-year-old imams newly arrived from Syria screaming "Allahu Akbar!" just before they board the plane. In order to eliminate discrimination, the Modern Liberal has opted to become utterly indiscriminate.
The problem is, of course, that the ability to discriminate, to thoughtfully choose the better of the available options--as in "she's a discriminating shopper"--is the essence of rational thought; thus, the whole of Western Europe and today's Democratic Party, dominated as it is by this philosophy, rejects rational thought as a hate crime.
So what you're left with after 10, 12, 14, 20 years in the Leftist indoctrination centers that our schools have become are citizens of voting age who are utterly unwilling and incapable of critically judging the merits of the positions they hold and have held unquestioned since they were five years old and first entered the Leftist indoctrination process.
There was a book that came out at just about the same time as Professor Bloom's that in some ways even better describes and explains the mindset of the Modern Liberal. It was Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and it reads like the bible of Modern Liberalism and the playbook of Democratic Party policy.
The sentence fragment "Don't hit," which is one of the lessons that Fulghum refers to, has morphed into an entire sentence now that they're adults: "War is not the answer." But they don't really need to know anything, because even though they know about Neville Chamberlain and what happens if you appease evil, they don't really need to know it because knowing it or not knowing it would not have changed the position they have now and have held unquestioned since they were five.
When I was five years old, I used to go around the neighborhood trick-or-treating with my friends on Halloween, and we'd have in one hand a bag for candy and in the other hand a little box with a slit on top for nickels and dimes and pennies for UNICEF, because at five years old, the United Nations is a terrific thing: "Don't hit, talk." Another lesson from Robert Fulghum is "Share everything." Well, here, we'll share power; we'll share our wealth; we'll pay for the United Nations. Let's talk things out. What a lovely, wonderful thing.
Then you turn 10, 15, 20, and you learn some things about the United Nations that change your opinion. You learn about the corruption. You learn about the anti-Semitism, that they ran away from the genocide in Rwanda, have done nothing about the Sudanese genocide--in fact, made the Sudanese members of the Human Rights Commission while they were committing this genocide! You and I change our position because these are things we really need to know, yet the Modern Liberal will maintain their five-year-old's position, their belief that the United Nations is this great, wonderful thing, and completely ignore everything they've learned since.
There was a song that came out at about this time called "Goodbye Stranger" by a group called Supertramp--because, you know, being a "tramp" is super! In it, this guy and this girl shack up together for a couple weeks, and apparently things are pretty wonderful until she says something like, "Honey, we've run out of food. Why don't you go to the supermarket, pick up some things, and then we can do this for another week or two?" He says, "I should go shopping? No, no, that's not my paradise. I'm leaving." And as he's walking out the door, he says to her, "Now, I believe that what you say is the undisputed truth, but I have to see things my own way just to keep me in my youth."
That is so much the mindset of the Modern Liberals. It's not that they are not aware of all the things that we're aware of; it's that they need to reject them in order to remain in this five-year-old's utopia that they've been told is the only hope for mankind: a mindless indiscriminateness.
So what you're left with is not really adults, but citizens of voting age who cannot judge their own positions but are virulently antagonistic to any position other than their own. Why? Because when you've been brought up to believe that indiscriminateness is a moral imperative, any position other than their own must have been arrived at through the employment of discrimination. This is why Bush is Hitler; this is why Reagan is Hitler; this is why Giuliani is Hitler.
How is Rudolph Giuliani like Hitler to a thinking person? In one way: Hitler discriminated against the Jews; Giuliani discriminated against the crack-addicted prostitutes mugging people in Times Square. Hitler discriminated against the Catholics; Giuliani discriminated against the criminal overlords. Hitler discriminated against the gypsies; Giuliani discriminated against the terrorists on 9/11 and beyond. In other words, any form of discrimination is wrong.
The Modern Liberals know that theirs is a position arrived at through the moral imperative of indiscriminateness; therefore, any position other than their own must have been arrived at through the employment of discrimination. So this makes you not just wrong on your issues and your stances. They don't even think about your issues and your stances. They don't have to. Even if they were willing to, even if they were able to, they don't need to. Would you sit and contemplate Hitler's Social Security policy? No, you would fight Hitler.
So what you're left with is, after 10, 12, 14, 20 years in these indoctrination centers--and it's not a coincidence that the longer you stay in the indoctrination process, the more morally inverted you become, so that to become head of the Ethnic Studies Department, you have to argue that the Islamic fascist terrorists are the good guys and the victims of 9/11 were all little Eichmanns--is people who quite literally cannot differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong, better and worse.
But indiscriminateness of thought does not lead to indiscriminateness of policy. Indiscriminateness of thought invariably leads the Modern Liberal to side with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success. Why? Because in a world where you are indiscriminate, where no behavior is to be deemed better or worse than any other, your expectation is that all behavior should lead to equally good outcomes. When, in the real world, different behaviors lead to different outcomes, you and I know why-- because we think. We know why communities that promote teenage promiscuity tend to fail at a greater rate than communities that promote teenage abstinence: Teenage promiscuity and teenage abstinence are not the same behaviors. Teenage abstinence is a better behavior.
Forget the moral component for a moment; let's just talk practicalities. If your boy's out messing around, he's not home reading a book. If your daughter's down at the abortion mill again, she's not at the library studying for the SATs. If your son's in a hospital bed somewhere dying of AIDS, he's not putting together his five-year plan.
You and I recognize why communities that promote teenage abstinence do better than those that promote teenage promiscuity in their music, in their movies, in the schools. But to the Modern Liberal who cannot make that judgment--must not make that judgment--that would be discriminating. They have no explanation. Therefore, the only explanation for success has to be that somehow success has cheated. Success, simply by its existence, is proof positive to the Modern Liberal of some kind of chicanery and likely bigotry. Failure, simply by its existence--no other evidence needed, just the fact that it has failed--is enough proof to them that failure has been victimized.
So the mindless foot soldier, which is what I call the non-elite, will support the elite's blueprint for utopia, will side with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success, out of a sense of justice. As I said at the beginning, they're not evil. It's just a mindless acceptance without any true Socratic desire to talk about the real consequences. It's meaningless to them, and it's why John Lennon said utopia was all the people living for today.
By the way, it's not a coincidence that those who live for today now have so much debt. What is debt? It's the failure to repay a promise from yesterday. And they vote themselves nothing but more and more entitlements, which is what? Stuff for me. I'll worry about who pays for it later.
The same is true of good and evil. Since nothing can deemed good, nothing can be deemed evil. That which society does recognize as good must be the beneficiary of some sort of prejudice. That which society recognizes as evil must be the victim of that prejudice. So, again, the mindless foot soldier will invariably side with whatever policy, mindlessly accept whatever policy seeks to tear down what is good--America, Israel, Wal-Mart--and elevate what is evil until everything meets in the middle and there is nothing left to fight about.
Take an issue in the news and think like a Modern Liberal, and you will see how, once you've been indoctrinated into this mindset, there is no other choice. Remember, I said it was inevitable. Once you belong to this cult of indiscriminateness, there is no other conclusion you can come to than that good is evil and that evil is the victim of good.
We all know it's official policy at the Leftist media outlets to never call Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, or any of the other Islamic fascist terrorist groups around the world "terrorists," and you know why. In fact, it's even in official memos to reporters ordering them not to use the appropriate word. That reason is that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Who are we to employ critical, rational judgment?"
But, as a very minimum standard, can't we at least agree that in order to be called a "freedom fighter," you have to be fighting for freedom? We know what Osama bin Laden is fighting for; he's told us. It's not freedom; it's an oppressive theocracy in which women are covered from head to toe and beaten if their ankles become exposed, and unless we all change to his religion, we are considered the offspring of pigs and monkeys to be decapitated. People like Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore will call Osama bin Laden a freedom fighter because being indiscriminate quite literally leaves them unable to tell the difference between freedom and having your head hacked off. That's how sick this mentality is.
So, if The New York Times and CNN and Newsweek and the rest of the leftist media outlets are right and there is no objective difference between the terrorist and the freedom fighter, why is it that you and I teach our children that George Washington is a hero and Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein are villains? You and I know why because we think.
George Washington risked his personal fortune to personally lead his troops into battle: battles fought nobly against other uniformed warriors for the purpose of creating the freest nation in the history of the world. Pretty noble, pretty heroic stuff. Yasser Arafat, on the other hand, stole his people's money, sent 14-year-olds out to fight his battles: battles fought against kids and women and civilians in pizza parlors and Passover ceremonies, all for the purpose of maintaining his corrupt dictatorship. Pretty villainous stuff.
But to the folks at The New York Times, there is no objective difference between the terrorist and the freedom fighter. So why do we teach our children that George Washington is a hero? The only possible explanation is that he is a white Christian of European descent. If there is no difference between the behaviors of the freedom fighters and the terrorists, then why do we teach that Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein are villains? There can be no other reason than they are darker-skinned Muslims of Middle Eastern birth.
So when push comes to shove and after 18 United Nations resolutions and 10 years of having our airplanes shot at in direct violation of our very clear agreements, after Saddam Hussein had invaded Iran and invaded Kuwait, bombed Saudi Arabia and bombed Israel, committed atrocities against the Kurds in the North and was committing genocide against the Marsh Arabs in the South, we finally, reluctantly go to war to liberate those poor people. You and I know why because we think: because we make critical, rational, moral judgments.
But to the Modern Liberal, to the mindless, to those who cannot discriminate between these behaviors, the only possible explanation for us going to war is some nefarious cause: because we're evil and Saddam Hussein, therefore, is a victim. So they will rush there, as we've seen, and act as human shields to protect his rape rooms and his torture chambers because they won't judge rape rooms and torture chambers, for that requires critical and moral judgment.
And if you listened to the chants of the mindless minions as they marched down the streets in their anti-America rallies, which the forged document users and the Leftist press euphemistically called "anti-war rallies," you could hear their chant: "One, two, three, four, we don't want your racist war." What race, exactly, comprises Iraq? What are they talking about? They don't know. It's not a factual statement; it's not an accurate statement. Didn't we just recently go to war to protect Muslims in Kuwait? Didn't we bomb the Christians of Europe to protect the Muslims of Europe?
What is this based on? It's based on the reality that once you subscribe to indiscriminateness, anything other than indiscriminateness is the evil of having discriminated.
Questions and Answers
QUESTION: You repeatedly used the term "Modern Liberal." When you go back in time, how do you view other definitions of "liberal" religiously, as when liberals were called "bleeding hearts" related to Jesus Christ, and in classical intellectual thought? I know a lot of Libertarians today like to call themselves liberal in the classical sense. How do you view Modern Liberalism with past liberalism?
MR. SAYET: Normally I would refer to the difference between upper-case "L" and lower-case "l." I refer to these people as Modern Liberals because it did come out of what we thought was the liberal tradition but went in a new direction. What they are now is very different from what they were. In fact, Modern Liberalism--upper-case "L" - is about as illiberal a philosophy as we've had in America, and though it's not quite yet gotten as violent as some others have, I fear that it's on its way.
As you go back through time, there was always the sense that we were trying to work toward something; there was a belief that there was something better than what came before. This Modern Liberalism is nihilism in a lot of ways. They will constantly argue, "question authority, question your government, don't trust your neighbors, don't trust Wal-Mart, everybody's out to get you," but they don't really replace it with anything. So there is nothing to aim for that you can make a judgment whether that's truly a good thing to do.
I think that, more than anything else, Modern Liberalism is characterized by its destructive nature. It tears down the authority of people in the schools, the authority of the old textbooks, the heroism of the people we would look up to and teach our children to look up to, but replaces it with nothing.
QUESTION: Do you have any more commentary on the past liberals? Do you respect liberals in the past?
MR. SAYET: There was always a liberal tradition in America, starting with the Founding Fathers and prior to them. It's very, very, very rare that the majority would cede so many rights and recognize that the rights came to everybody and that they didn't come from the powers here but came from a greater power than ourselves. The power that minorities have in America and have always had in America-- and I include myself as a Jew amongst the minorities--is unprecedented in human history, and that was true liberalism: the fact that it wasn't forced upon people.
The things that are happening now, like losing free speech in our schools, are the opposite of what liberalism was. Some of the same values that were liberal back in the '60s are conservative now. I'll give as an example a color-blind society. That remains a liberal concept; unfortunately, it's not liberal from a Modern Liberal--upper-case "L"--point of view.
QUESTION: Owen Graham, foreign policy intern here at Heritage. I think you've come to the nexus of what we as conservatives confront, because it really is a revolution. As Bloom puts it, it's changing everything from a right society to the privileging of differences and the lack of being capable of making decisions based on principles. The only principle is that you can't discriminate against anything.
MR. SAYET: Indiscriminateness of thought doesn't just lead to sometimes being right; it actually is a philosophy that has an inevitable conclusion. Bloom talks about "seeking the good," and that's what we try to do. It doesn't mean we're always right, doesn't mean we always get there, doesn't mean we don't stumble along the way; but without a recognition of good, then how do you progress toward good?
Which puts the lie to the concept that Modern Liberalism is progressive in any fashion. If they have nothing to progress toward, if there is no good, then they are forcing every single generation not only to reinvent the wheel, but to fight every battle we've ever fought to get to this great nation, this great time that we're in.
QUESTION: I thank you, and I hope that you are counseling some of the conservative candidates to bring this up, because it has permeated everything.
MR. SAYET: It's quite literally everything. That's why I didn't hesitate at the beginning to say it is the only standard in Hollywood, the only standard for journalism, the only standard for art, the only standard for justice.
One of the big canards of Modern Liberalism is this notion of diversity, as if diversity is a virtue. Diversity is not a virtue; diversity is meaningless. Diversity just means "different." Without the critical moral judgment to say, "Yes, it's different and good," you're not only not supporting good, but you are invariably supporting evil.
Our melting pot melted out some of the failed behaviors, some of the lesser behaviors. That's how we became such a terrific nation: by taking the best and leaving aside the rest. That makes the bad behaviors rare in our society, so to be diverse you have to promote that which is rare. Common sense and conventional wisdom are both rejected for no other reason than that they're common and conventional. So you find, again, the Modern Liberal championing always that which is the worst.
QUESTION: Alan Nichols from Washington Diplomat magazine. If Hillary Clinton were sitting here listening to you, trying to be open to you--assuming she's capable--she would say, "You have a perspective, but I also am working toward the good." You say liberals don't work toward the good, but Hillary would say, "I want universal health care because I believe it is best for America's citizens."
MR. SAYET: Absolutely. I really did try to stress at the beginning that I don't necessarily consider them evil. I absolutely believe that they believe that they are working toward "the good." The problem is that you've eliminated critical, rational judgment; you've eliminated the ability to tell the difference between what works and what doesn't work; you're coming from the mindset of a five-year-old.
When I was five years old, the New York World's Fair closed up in my neighborhood, down the street from me, and I insisted that my father buy the monorail that went around the park because I wanted to put it up alongside the Long Island Expressway and ease congestion and pollution because I was a liberal kid. He explained to me in grown-up fashion that we couldn't afford it and, technically, there were problems like getting the rights of way, creating a bureaucracy, etc.
When you have a conversation with a Modern Liberal about health care, there's no doubt that their goal is as good as mine was: curing air pollution or curing everybody's health problems. But if you don't have the grown-up sense to be able to discuss how, what's the reality, what's the truth, you can't have a conversation where you make the world a better place. It's all fantasy at that point. Again, you're dealing with a five-year-old, so of course she wants to make the world a better place. Very, very few of us don't.
It's a matter of having given up the ability to discriminate: (a) they can't bring it about because it's a childish conversation; and (b) when you have to make the decisions about who gets certain things-- for example, health care, welfare, or illegal aliens-- certain decisions have to be made about who qualifies for it, and when you're just going through indiscriminately giving all these benefits, then you're actually going to be assisting that which is most failed because they're the ones who are going to be most in need.
QUESTION: Global warming and Al Gore?
MR. SAYET: I am convinced that global warming is not a position they have arrived at through an honest and sincere look at the scientific data and the recognition that these models--look, we don't even trust models of weather three days down the road on the nightly news, but we're going to trust this one for 50 years down the road? I don't think it's an honest attempt to understand global warming.
In one fell swoop, you can turn America from the greatest nation in the history of the world--our productivity feeds the world--into the most evil nation in the history of the world. The idea that we're destroying the world is accepted more because it's an attack on America as evil polluters than it is because it's scientifically supported.
QUESTION: Since you're here from Hollywood, let's talk about the future. There are conservatives in Hollywood; they just don't want to put their heads out of the hole in the ground. Where do you see us getting to the tipping point, or where can we get along the road of retaking?
MR. SAYET: Let me tie those two questions together very quickly. One of the things that conservatives recognize is that the answer to problems is progress, and fortunately, technological progress has seen the conservatives find alternative methods.
Back in the studio day, you needed to work at the studio, and there was no place else to go; but now you have a Mel Gibson who can find unique ways of distributing and promoting, and there's the Liberty Film Festival that my friends run and whatnot. I am able to promote my shows via the Internet and through all kinds of technologies that would have made it impossible just five or seven or ten years ago. So as more and more channels come on cable, you're going to have more and more opportunities for unique voices, and because we are so incredibly right, they find us.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the term "progressivism," how that sort of replaced liberalism in a lot of ways as the new way they talk about themselves and what it means to be a progressive?
MR. SAYET: What I find interesting is how often what the Liberal claims about himself is exactly the opposite of what the truth is. Chris Matthews has this show called "Hardball," as if the title is going to tell us what the show really is when it's really quite the opposite. They've come to recognize that people recognize Liberalism in its modern form as the policies that have failed our schools, the policies that have failed us as a nation, the policies that have done so little to help the black community to get out of the rut that it's been in for the last 40 years in some ways--and that it is a pejorative.
It's funny, because the Liberals very much recognize themselves. I remember watching "Hannity & Colmes," and Sean Hannity said of Nancy Pelosi that she's a San Francisco liberal, and immediately Alan Colmes yelled at him that he was trying to demonize her. How do you demonize someone by stating the facts?
So suddenly they decide, "Okay, people have caught onto us about Liberalism; now let's call ourselves progressive. We won't be progressive in the slightest. It's just a name. It's just an advertising slogan."