If there was a theme which unites two of the biggest issues bloggers have been reporting, discussing and debating this week, it would be the projections all too many liberals cast on their conservative counterparts. First, they accused us of backing the “birthers.” Then, they used various slurs to attack our opposition to the President’s proposed health care overhaul.
They accused us of being tools of corporate interests, not being sincere in our opinions and of instigating violence (when there’s far more evidence linking activists supporting the President’s plan to thuggish tactics at townhall meetings) in publicly expressing our opposition to said overhaul. One columnist for a major national daily accused us of “poisoning the political well, [becoming] political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems” without once quoting (save to reference a clever line of criticism) any Republicans opposed to the various Democratic plans.
And then, there’s Paul Krugman, calling us a “mob,” the New York Times columnist suggests that we’re racists with a “substantial fraction” being birthers. You’d think a columnist for such an esteemed newspaper with a Nobel Prize in Economics no less would have the least bit of understanding of laissez-faire economic and its many advocates in the United States. But, you’d be wrong. According to Krugman, “the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that’s behind the ‘birther’ movement“.
My friend David Boaz, a strong critic of the Bush Administration, will have none of this narrow-minded left-winger’s nonsense. In a must-read post, he takes down Krugman:
Paul Krugman can’t understand why people would oppose government control of health care — or skyrocketing deficits, or a federal takeover of education, energy, and finance along with health care — unless they’re driven by racism.
Like those who dismiss the protesters as astroturf, the Times‘ economist must needs reduce the motivation of his intellectual adversaries to racism. And his ideological allies accuse us of having a narrow view of the world.
But, David isn’t through. He goes on to criticize others who smear Obama opponents with the racism brush, pointing out something which serious students of history know about the idea of liberty:
The classical liberal ideas of individualism, individual rights, property rights, “negative liberties,” and limited government date back hundreds, even thousands, of years. They find their roots in the Greek and Hebrew conceptions of the higher law, the Scholastic thinkers, the Levellers’ ideas of self-ownership and natural rights, the political theory of John Locke, the economic analysis of Adam Smith, and the political institutions of the American Founding. To suggest that the case for freedom and limited government — or the application of that theory to contemporary proposals for the expansion of government — must be attributable to racism is uncharitable, ahistorical, thoughtless, and indeed contemptible.
As with anything by David, just read the whole thing. And while you’re at, buy his latest book. It’s a great read.