American Elephants

Liberals’ Bumper-Sticker Mentality by American Elephant
September 16, 2007, 4:24 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Politics, The Constitution | Tags: , , ,

Benjamin Franklin

I had to laugh when I heard John Edwards call the War on Terror a bumper-sticker — I guess one doesn’t see many bumpers from the backseat of a town-car.

Not once since the war began have I seen those words on any bumper, in fact, other than the apparently controversial sentiment, “Support the Troops,” I don’t see many conservative bumper-stickers at all.

But I have seen, “No Blood For Oil”, “War is NOT a Family Value”, “Bush Lied, People Died”, “War Never Solved Anything”, “Peace Works”, “Practice pre-emptive LOVE”, “War is NOT Pro-Life”, “Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism”, and my favorite, “Pollution is a moral issue” (right above the exhaust pipe of an old black-smoke-belching VW van). Often they’re all on the same car, invariably adjacent to a prominently displayed and fading, “Kerry/Edwards 04,” and a picture of a marijuana leaf.

And that really is just scratching the surface. I know you’ve seen them too. There are thousands of such inanities plastered on thousands of “progressive” Prius posteriors.

No, the fact is that there are very few conservative bumper stickers for the same reason conservative protests are virtually unheard of — they’re silly. They accomplish nothing other than to broadcast the simplemindedness and more often than not, ignorance, of the owner.

War never solved anything? I concede it has a certain ring to it. It’s short, sweet, straight to the point. The problem is that it’s also factually incorrect. Of course war has solved many of the worlds greatest ills — slavery, genocide, Nazism, Fascism, Communism and tyranny of all sorts. It has also now solved the problem of Saddam Hussein. No longer do we need worry about that particular rogue tyrant aiding terrorists bent on our destruction. And that, in itself, makes the world a great deal safer.

And yet this bumper-sticker mentality pervades the left. It betrays the emotionalism that is the foundation of their ideology. That their slogans are so demonstrably wrong is unimportant — that they sound good is all that matters.

An excellent example of this has been the widespread use by liberals of a misquotation of Benjamin Franklin they use to protest the Terrorist Surveillance Program. They plaster it everywhere — from websites to yes, bumper-stickers and protest signs — no doubt you’ve seen or heard it somewhere:

Liberal protestors display their ignorance

Of course Benjamin Franklin would never say such an idiotic thing. We trade some liberty for security every day. If you don’t believe me try exercising your “right” to keep driving next time you see a set of police lights flashing in your rear-view mirror, or try opening a bank account without giving any personal information.

The original quote is actually,

“Those who would give up ESSENTIAL LIBERTY to purchase a little TEMPORARY SAFETY, deserve neither LIBERTY nor SAFETY”

Now, of course, that’s an entirely different ball of wax.

Anyone who would argue that international phone calls with suspected terrorists compromise an “essential liberty” simply isn’t dealing in reality. You can’t cross the the border without the distinct possibility of a warrantless search of your vehicle, your possessions, and your person — coming and going — how is an international telephone call to suspected enemies more sacrosanct than an innocent day-trip to British Columbia?

The constitution doesn’t prohibit search or seizure, it prohibits government from performing unreasonable search and seizure. And there’s nothing unreasonable about listening in to phone calls placed from telephone numbers found in Khalid Sheik Mohammad’s laptop. Yet the fact that he had a phone number on his hard drive isn’t sufficient evidence to provide the “probable cause” necessary to secure the warrant liberals demand we get. No doubt many of those phone numbers belong to people plotting against the United States, but if we were to follow liberal’s bumper-sticker understanding of the Constitution, we wouldn’t be able to listen to terrorists making calls to cell members inside the United States because simply being buddies with one of the most heinous terrorists in the world doesn’t clear the threshold of probable cause.

The irony is that the essential liberty Franklin was referencing was the right to defend oneself and the temporary safety was a reference to appeasing violent marauders (or dare I say, terrorists) in the hope they wouldn’t attack. He was defending a liberty liberals are against and denouncing the appeasement they favor.

So here we have liberals either knowingly bastardizing or ignorantly misquoting Franklin to make an argument at odds with what he was saying in the first place. Whether they are being intentionally dishonest or naively uninformed is of absolutely no interest to them, either are acceptable, all that matters is that it sounds good.

Or as liberals in the news media have become fond of saying, “the facts are wrong, but the narrative is right.”

Come to think of it, that wouldn’t make a bad bumper sticker:

LIBERALISM: The Facts are Wrong, But the Narrative is Right!

But that would be silly.

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