Sunday, August 07, 2005


From an interview with media veteran Bernard Goldberg about his book "The 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America"

One of those essays in those first fifty-four pages quotes a piece that James Piereson wrote for The Weekly on the occasion of President Reagan's death last year. Called "Punitive Liberalism", it's a great touchstone connecting the patriotic liberals of the FDR through LBJ era with those who came afterwards in the wake of George McGovern's failed 1972 presidential campaign.

Goldberg says, logically, that most liberals have never heard of Piereson's phrase. But its symptoms resonate with them nonetheless, "because they see themselves as more sensitive, and more concerned about their fellow man. They say, 'well, this is a country that polluted our air and water', which it did. 'This is a country which had racist policies towards blacks', which it did. 'This is a country that treated women as second-class citizens', which it did."

Goldberg is quick to add, "All these things were wrong", repeating the phrase slowly for added emphasis. "But most of us say, 'let's fix it. Let's make sure we don't do that anymore, and move on.'" In contrast, he says, the modern left dwells on these past transgressions. "It doesn't occur to them somehow that people are literally killing themselves to get to this country. That poor people all over the world want to come to America, because this is a land of great opportunity.

Despite that, Goldberg notes that many, but not all of America's cultural elites are uncomfortable with America's power (and possibly with the idea of power itself). "I think it stems from the fact that we do have a history where we did things wrong in this country. But for them it's always yesterday-they can't look forward. They enjoy that. They enjoy the fact that America isn't the perfect place. And it isn't."

"But you know what?", Goldberg asks rhetorically, "It's a lot more perfect than most other places."


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