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Resolution was embarrassing

Joe Willingham Berkeley
Thursday October 25, 2001

The Daily Planet received this letter addressed to the City Council: 

Your performance in passing the resolution against the U.S. exercise of its moral and legal right to self defense was truly an embarrassment to those of us in Berkeley who are not members of your cult. You cite the attitudes of many in the Islamic world as proof that the USA is so guilty that it has brought the attacks on itself (”root causes” is the buzzword). What you fail to mention is that the attitudes of many of these same critics on the Jewish question and on the woman question are straight out of Hitler’s playbook. In your eyes, it is OK to be a fascist so long as you are from the “third world” and so long as you hate the United States? 

I have no problem with criticizing the Unitee States and its foreign policy. I spent the 60s doing that, and do it today when criticism is appropriate. But simple hatred and contempt for the United States, its people, and its ideals is not an adequate basis for a rational political philosophy, and certainly not a progressive political philosophy. You will deny that you have these attitudes, but the pattern of your statements and behavior is evidence to the contrary. 

Has it ever occurred to you that some problems in some countries may have to do with something other than the U.S. government? Your belief that everything bad that happens is the doing of America is a perverted form of national chauvinism. It has little connection to reality. 

The problem with Berkeley style “progressivism” is that it is not oriented towards practical improvements in the real world. Freed of any responsibility for results, it is free to wallow in a solipsistic self righteousness, a sort of moral narcissism. A deadly miasma of New Age emotionalism and infantile leftist attitudinizing clouds your minds. Hence the sad results of your governance of the city: crime, lack of rental housing, failing schools, and decaying public services. And hence the spectacle to which you treated the world with your resolution. 


Joe Willingham