Liberal becomes a dirty word

MOST Irish people, some 70%, would have voted for John Kerry according to the polls. So most of us are baffled at Goerge Bush’s victory despite all his many flaws. At times, it seems we live on a different planet to that of ‘middle America’.

Evangelical christians and people who believe in ‘morals’ and ‘values’ turned out in droves for George Bush and sent him back to the White House.

People who believe in ‘Law and Order’ returned a man who refuses to recognise the International Criminal Court.

People who believe in the ‘Right-To-Life” voted for the man about to order the attack on Faluja with its attendant civilian victims.

People who support ‘morals’ voted for a regime which has institutionalised torture as an American policy.

Go figure.

Maybe I’m just bitter. Or maybe I’m not seeing the bigger picture.

There is a terrible hatred of liberalism in modern America. Maybe it’s born of intolerance. But maybe it’s born of bitter experience.

You see, most liberals are the most intolerant people you will ever meet. They have a world view and anyone who steps outside that worldview are treated with utter ruthlessness.

Take the treatment of the hapless Rocco Butiglioni, for example. He thinks homosexuality is a sin. For this point of view he has been hunted out of his job in the European Commission.

According to the ‘liberals’ he is entitled to his view but not to be in a position of responsibility where he might act upon his beliefs.

That’s fair enough, if you’re gay, but it also means that he won’t be in a position to prove his critics wrong. He won’t get the chance.

In America, many people are repulsed by this form of ‘liberalism’ where only a narrow band of right-on views are acceptable and where pluralism is paid lip-service. There is a huge backlash against this political correctness and this is largely why George W is back in office.

Pluralism means actually tolerating the views you don’t agree with. Tolerance means a few men-only golf clubs; means that not everyone has to love multiculturalism; means that not every anti-abortion activist has to be characterised as an inbred redneck.

Because otherwise, folks, we will end up with the American situation: a polarised society where neither side can abide each other and where overkill is the order of the day. A society where pluralism is withering between two ideological rocks.

Butiglioni’s views are not my cup of tea. But he has a mandate, his views represent a lot of people, and his decisions could have been attacked politically. Now we have ended up with another sullen and alienated group of people.

These are the groups which will one day take great delight in sticking the boot into the ‘liberals’. That’s why America has ended up with new bans on gay marriage, Guantanamo Bay, the war on Iraq and no Kyoto Treaty.

That’s the ultimate outcome of this type of ‘liberalism’.