One of the fascinating things about liberals is how they create their own false realities and then simply ignore or block out of their minds facts that conflict with that reality.
We have witnessed this phenomenon, big time, during the housing and banking crises. The crises were the fault of the free market, the liberals claim, because as everyone “knows,” America has a “free-enterprise” system, one that has once again failed.
And what about the fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the core of the crisis, were government-created institutions, both of which had the implicit guarantee of the federal government? What about the mortgage regulations that forced lenders to make risky loans? What about the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates that blew air into the housing bubble? What about the plethora of federal agencies that regulate the banking and lending industries?
Oh, none of those things count, say the liberals. Interventionism doesn’t cause economic crises, they say. Rather, it’s that degree of economic freedom that is still permitted to exist that causes the crises. All we have to do is socialize the entire economy and — voila! — no more crises.
After all, say the liberals, just look at Cuba, where everything is socialized and where people live in prosperity and economic bliss.
Another example of this life of unreality occurred a few days ago in the New York Times in an article by a liberal named Amy Chua, who is a professor at Yale Law School. She writes that after the fall of the Berlin Wall, “markets and free elections were the answer. Free-market democracy … would transform the world into a community of productive, peace-loving nations” but “instead “the ensuring years saw repeated economic crises outside the West, genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, intensifying fundamentalism, virulent anti-Americanism and finally the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”
In other words, all those bad things were caused by all that “neoliberalism,” which Chua equates to free-market principles that she is convinced guided the United States and the rest of the Western World during the decade prior to 9/11.
What about the entire socialistic welfare state and regulated economy that came into existence here in United States during the 20th century? What about the income tax, the IRS, the Federal Reserve, the New Deal, the Great Society, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, farm subsidies, trade restrictions, immigration controls, regulation, the SEC, the DEA, the FTC, the departments of labor, agriculture, energy, commerce, education, and so many more?
Oh, in Chua’s mind all this no doubt represents the height of “free enterprise.” After all, that’s what she and most everyone else are taught in junior high school and high school and then also in college. No doubt it’s what Chua herself is now teaching students in her law classes at Yale. America has a “free enterprise system” that was saved and improved upon by Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society.
What about libertarianism, which defines a genuinely free-market society as one in which there is an absence of all those socialistic and interventionist programs? Well, since libertarianism doesn’t fit within Chua’s personal reality, it’s not surprising that she limits her critique to neo-conservatives and simply acts as if libertarianism didn’t exist.
In her article, Chua issues a broadside against neo-conservatives, who embarked upon an “aggressive, interventionist use of American military force” after 9/11, with the Iraq quagmire sending neo-conservatism into a tailspin.
Fair enough. But what about the aggressive, interventionist use of American military force in the decade prior to 9/11? What does Chua say about that?
Oh, she doesn’t mention it. No mention of the Persian Gulf intervention, or the Pentagon’s intentional destruction of Iraq’s water-and-sewage treatment plants, or the more than 10 years of brutal and deadly sanctions against the Iraqi people, or U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous declaration that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it,” or the deadly and illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, or the stationing of U.S. troops near Islamic holy lands. No mention of the anger and rage those things produced within people in the Middle East, ultimately culminating in the 9/11 attacks.
You see, that discomforting set of facts would conflict with Chua’s thesis — her reality — that it was the purported embrace of “neoliberalism” in the decade prior to 9/11 that, somehow or another, ended up causing all those problems.
Chua reviews a collection of recent foreign policy books and essays but she fails to mention the many essays and the trilogy of books written by Chalmers Johnson — Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis. Again, this is not surprising given Johnson’s thesis — that it was U.S. foreign policy that produced the anger and rage that ultimately brought about the 9/11 attacks. Thus, better to behave as if Johnson’s books had never been published.
The noted author and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck pointed out that mental health requires an ongoing commitment to reality at all costs. It is a principle that liberals should take to heart.