Lack of logic in ‘liberal’ bashing

If liberal Christians are still liberals, claims of "senseless godlessness" are absurd.

Today, I feel compelled by the sheer volume of absurdity and the total lack of logic or self-awareness that Darren Bernard displayed in his Tuesday column, “The liberal inquisition.”

First, he supposedly was writing on the topic of law and policy, yet the extent to which he covered anything remotely like law and policy was an indirect reference to a number of cases that have come before the Supreme Court. He never considered any specific law or policy matter and instead engaged in strange counter-factuals such as Gov. Tim Pawlenty calling for a day of prayer.

Second, he continually refers to “liberals,” but gives no clear sense or definition as to what that means or who fits that label. Is a moderate Democrat anything like a radical Marxist? Is an ardent animal-rights activist anything like a liberal libertarian? All of these kinds of people, as well as many, many more varied groups, would fit under the label “liberal” in common parlance, but it would be nonsense to think his accusations would apply to all these groups in the same way or at all.

Bernard blasts liberals for demonizing conservatives, but isn’t that exactly what his column did to liberals? Most of his problems with “liberals” seem to be over the question of God or Christianity in public discourse. But what about liberal Christians? Do they count as liberals? Because if they do, the attacks of senseless godlessness on the part of liberals fail to be consistent.

Third, Bernard mentions how some of the Founding Fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson, supported religious laws being instituted and how liberals ignore this fact. Perhaps Bernard ignores the fact that Jefferson and many other founders had human slaves. The fact is, what the founders personally believed is essentially irrelevant to current legal theory and policy, because they lived in a different time, place and social context. We may admire the system that exists today because of them, but we certainly can’t admire all of their personal traits or opinions.

This reliance on the founders for current policy ideas makes me question Bernard’s education in legal theory and jurisprudence. He makes the bold claim that the left and many judges have no clue as to the principles of our legal system. Perhaps Bernard should consider the possibility that he has no clue about the legal principles our country is based on, until he has as much education, experience and success in the sphere of law and policy as those he is insulting have.

Fourth, Bernard insults liberals for paying a lot of attention to racism, homophobia, sexism and classism. Does this mean that he believes these phenomena do not exist? Or that there is no problem with them? Because if they exist and they are a problem, why wouldn’t we want people to address them?

Bernard could use a little less hubris and a little more education on the topic on which he writes. But more important to me is the fact that I read The Minnesota Daily, despite its sometimes poor quality, and have an interest in reading columns that at least make a little sense and don’t make laughable and idiotic overreactions, overgeneralizations and blatantly incorrect assertions.

Tom Becker is a University student and co-president of the Student Philosophy Society. Please send comments to [email protected]