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Jewish World Review June 2, 2003 / 2 Sivan, 5763

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart
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Consumer Reports

This is not a good time to be a lib | America has just won, and quickly, a war with Iraq.

A war which was, in the end, popular both here at home and by all accounts with the majority of the Iraqi people.

On Tuesday, George Bush signed the third-largest tax cut in American history. With all the savage attacks on Attorney General John Ashcroft, even the most ardent "don't interfere with my privacy rights" leftists can do little more than mutter in agreement with the fact that this administration has done something right - there hasn't been a terrorist attack on American soil in almost two years.

Meanwhile, as the New York Times Magazine recently reported, college campuses are once again becoming a hotbed of radical political activism - only this time it's coming from conservatives.

Mega-retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco, the Times also documents, are rapidly becoming America's biggest sellers of books, videos, and music, and are stocking their shelves with selections which reflect the more traditional, even conservative bent of their customers. Talk radio and cable news television is undeniably dominated by the right. And conservative writers like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mona Charen, David Frum and Bernard Goldberg are standard fare on best-seller lists.

This is not a good time to be a liberal.

What's going on? It's more than a pendulum swing. It's that it's finally become apparent that something is wrong with liberalism itself.

Liberalism as we know it today is just plain ugly, divisive, selfish, and even downright mean. Consider this: Almost every time a conservative politicians or other leaders talk about liberal agendas and policies, they say, "Well, liberals mean well -- even though when it comes to their views on (fill in the blank) -- national security, social welfare programs, high taxes, radical feminism/environmentalism -- even though their agenda has been shown to be a failure, liberals are good people, they want to do the right thing. . ."

But have you EVER heard a liberal activist, with or without any stature, say, "Well those conservatives want to do the right thing. . .I disagree with them on their views on social welfare, or taxes, but they are good people and they mean well. . .?"

No, you've never heard that because liberal activists only paint conservatives as wanting to starve school kids, steal money from the poor to give to the rich, burn down black churches and push grandmothers down the on-ramp to the expressway.

Where conservatives preach inclusiveness, "a tax-cut for everyone, because we want everyone to do better" an end to racial preferences "because they are so divisive and don't help the people they are meant to," liberal activists consistently pit one class, race or even age group against another.

Race and class warfare is mother's milk to them.

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That's why the change. I'm convinced that Americans are more and more seeing through the divisiveness and disingenuousness of the left and rejecting it.

Phil Kent, prominent journalist, and now president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, chronicles this phenomenon in his bold new book, "The Dark side of Liberalism" (Harbor House).

It's bold because Kent pulls no punches. He methodically examines major issues like race, Islam in America, taxes, environmentalism, education, feminism, the culture. He explains with almost frightening clarity the left's view of the issue at hand, and then sets the record straight. Again and again he shows how the standard liberal line on these issues is based on divisiveness, ugliness, often downright lies, and worst of all, in many cases a real loathing for America. I don't agree with everything Kent says - I'm for regulated immigration, not virtually closing our borders, for instance - but Kent is not a conservative who argues that "liberals mean well. . ." Because, as he shows, often they don't.

What a breath of fresh air.

It's hardly that conservatives don't have some mean-spirited people who claim to share conservatism's goals, or that there aren't generous, kind, if misguided liberals out there. And it's certainly not the case that conservatives have won every battle. It's just that now conservatives, like Kent and so many other thinkers and movers on the right, finally seem willing to thoroughly engage liberals, to expose liberalism for what it is, and the malevolent motives of many liberal activists for what they are.

And that's the reason conservatives are so clearly dominant on the American scene today.

It's about time that it's a good time to be a conservative.

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JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.


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