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Thursday, January 23, 2003


"Can you imagine if a massive gay rights rally has been organized by NAMBLA, the pedophile group? But NAMBLA is to gay rights what ANSWER is to legitimate anti-war sentiment. And no-one in the liberal establishment seems to care." Andrew Sullivan is right about the reasons liberal groups should have paid closer attention to the sponsor of last weekend's antiwar rallies in Washington and San Francisco.

But some liberals have been raising the alarm for months. The Nation's David Corn condemned ANSWER back in November. Todd Gitlin of Mother Jones drew the important distinction over a year ago: "But in the wake of September 11 there erupted something more primal and reflexive than criticism: a kind of left-wing fundamentalism, a negative faith in America the ugly."

In the United States, adherents of this kind of reflexive anti-Americanism are a minority (isolated, usually, on campuses and in coastal cities, in circles where reality checks are scarce), but they are vocal and quick to action. Observing flags flying everywhere, they feel embattled and draw on their embattlement for moral credit, thus roping themselves into tight little circles of the pure and the saved.

It is deeply counterproductive for liberal or religious groups to endorse (even implicitly) the agenda of a group like ANSWER. Make it clear how your alternative vision differs from President Bush's — and how it differs from ANSWER's. There is too much important work to do to march off under the banner of the Puritans of the left or the right.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 23 January 2003 at 12:55 PM

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