Jewish World Review August 29, 2003 / 1 Elul, 5763

Lewis A. Fein

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Fighting the Dark Side | Some messages are so secret and destructive that the words themselves are invisible, a cryptic ordering of words and phrases that only become clear - and dangerously frightening - when exposed before the lamp of common sense.

For Phil Kent, author of the provocative new book "The Dark Side of Liberalism: Unchaining the Truth," there are two unequal brands of ideological conviction: honorable liberalism, with its dedication to and history of racial justice and democratic strength; and Leftist darkness, an attempt to make quotas the benchmark of success and Islamic extremism the symbol of tolerance. But the overall theme of Kent's book - a time capsule written with aphoristic elegance - is itself a warning to all Californians (myself included) -- "Freedom will perish when speech yields to sensitivity; America will collapse wherever the terrorist is another welcome invader."

Here in California, a state ravaged by high taxes, failing schools and political incompetence, Kent's words have the inevitable tinge of honesty's inflexibility: I told you so! Indeed, Kent deserves respect for having avoided the easy choice of "consensus," a word that is as soothing as it is meaningless. For consensus is the path of least resistance, the mistaken belief that - simply because conservatives and liberals can issue joint press statements - the words themselves now have respect or magical appeal. Imagine a political eulogy with subtitles -- "Consensus!"

Kent also discusses the issue of illegal immigration with necessary common sense. He correctly rejects the notion that illegal immigrants take jobs no one else wants. As if legions of the unemployed would not consider - nor would they accept - a decent wage for genuine work. Instead, employers would either recalculate wages upward or negotiate directly with labor. But the nightmare depicted by supporters of illegal immigration - gardeners with diplomas, maids with test scores - is simply ridiculous: economics corrects all deficiencies, even those with a Leftist pedigree.

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Perhaps the book's most compelling chapter is about the importance of a vigorous brand of American foreign policy. Kent recognizes the threat before us, an unyielding force of religious hatred and terrorist violence. He does not mince words when addressing the magnitude of this new war; he does not make consensus the victim of real, deadly and international conflict. Nor should he. Terror makes no exemption for the pacifist or morally blind, except to kill such individuals first. Thus, Kent's book is a necessary reminder for any defender of liberty and justice.

Phil Kent's book is a welcome primer about the simple importance of political common sense. He envisions - and I second his impassioned defense of -- an America of individuals, immune from racial antagonism, religious bigotry or economic division. In Kent's America, the individual reigns supreme: an industrious worker -- a recent immigrant, yes -- driven by principles of liberty and fair play. The worker's roots may be Spanish, German, Italian or Jewish, but his destination is always the same -- toward the light of freedom and firmly anchored in the soil of justice and independence. A dream worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for.

JWR contributor Lewis A. Fein is a writer and Internet entrepreneur in Los Angeles.Comment by clicking here.


© 2003, Lewis A. Fein