Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Self-righteous as ever

Glenn Greenwald has written a magisterial post (via Instapundit) in which he comments on the European outrage in the face of Arnold Schwarzenegger's refusal to grant clemency to Tookie Williams, who was executed a few days ago. He rightly identifies this as an excellent example of the intellectual dishonesty of many Europeans:
The moral perversion here is breathtaking. Convicted multiple murderer Tookie Williams is now the hero of the European Left in whose honor they want to re-name monuments. And it is Gov. Schwarzenegger who is the criminal and murderer who deserves punishment and public repudiation.
And this is where the odious anti-Americanism is so evident. Say what you will about the death penalty – reasonable people can certainly disagree about it, and it’s one of the issues to which I confess an irresolvable ambivalence, usually leaning against it. But even to ardent death penalty opponents, the execution of the unquestionably guilty mass murderer and violent gang founder Tookie Williams –- after a jury trial and multiple judicial appeals –- ranks very, very low on the list of the world’s human rights outrages and grave injustices.
The countries which the European Left makes a passionate cause of defending – from the Palestinian Authority to Iran and Syria, not to mention Cuba, China and multiple other historic Communist regimes –- routinely imprison and/or execute people without any due process, for reasons ranging from criticism of the Government to adultery and homosexuality. None of that sparks “outrage among Europeans,” because none of that provides an opportunity to depict the United States as the world’s real evil. As a result, the European Left is uninterested in it.
And therein lies the embodiment and definition of “anti-Americanism”: the parmaount desire to find fault and evil with the U.S. and thereby adopting that goal as the first and only real principle, from which everything else follows. That goal is then fulfilled by selectively and endlessly highlighting and exaggerating America’s faults and downplaying, ignoring and even defending far worse flaws in others. In its most virulent (and quite common) form, this extends to making common cause with the most abusive and genuinely evil regimes and movements around the world, whose only virtue –- the only one the European Left needs -- is that they are opposed by the U.S.
Do read the whole thing. I can emphatically confirm, from personal experience, that this is an accurate representation of the European reality. To me, one of the most baffling aspects of this subtle - but entrenched - attitude that many Europeans adopt is how acceptable it seems to be, to the point where being "anti-American" is almost seen as a badge of honor in some circles. Glenn does us an invaluable service by exposing clearly and concisely how perverse, dishonest and revolting this routine anti-Americanism is. Thank you.

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