The (Distorted) View

“Why is it inappropriate when 70 families died?” an outraged and incoherent Whoopi Goldberg questioned Bill O’Reilly on “The View” about the Ground Zero mosque, referring to 70 Muslims who died during the 9/11 attacks. “Because Muslims killed us on 9/11, that’s why!” the cable-news kingpin matter-of-factly responded. “No!” Goldberg interjected. “Oh, My God! That is such bulls—!” Goldberg and her co-host Joy Behar stormed off set in huffy protest.

Had O’Reilly overlooked a closet Presbyterian among the hijackers? 

If nine years ago, roughly one month after 9/11, you announced that Muslims would soon seek to construct a mosque upon the site where their coreligionists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans, people would have called you “crazy.” If you had added that in the future merely mentioning the religion of our attackers would spark public censure, they would have put you in a straitjacket. Strangely, on the island of Manhattan in 2010, controversy pounced upon Bill O’Reilly’s mainstream view rather than Jay Behar and Whoopi Goldberg’s out-of-touch outrage.

Given the Left’s self-serving historiography, this bizarre turn of events should not have been that difficult to anticipate. The Left is constantly undergoing self-serving fits of amnesia and projecting its own embarrassments upon political enemies. If liberals can forget who killed Americans on 9/11 less than a decade ago, then they are certainly capable of forgetting the whole of the last century.

The Party of the Ku Klux Klan couldn’t have been the Party of Wilson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy. They were too noble to associate with such haters. 

Upton Sinclair, Jane Addams, The Masses, and the Progressive Party didn’t push for Prohibition. They leaned too forward to support something so backward.

Oliver Wendell Holmes was a Proper Bostonian and a Harvard Man to boot. So, attributing to him the Supreme Court’s imprimatur on eugenics and the accompanying cruel observation, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” must surely be a misunderstanding. 

That the internment of Japanese Americans happened during the Roosevelt presidency is no proof of FDR’s complicity. Mr. Conservative Robert Taft and J. Edgar Hoover, head of KGBUSA, surely had something to do with the American concentration camps that Franklin Roosevelt had nothing to do with.

Don’t blame the liberals in power for the Palmer Raids, the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and the Smith Act. Call it “McCarthyism.”

A Democrat president didn’t drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Better to peg all subsequent conservative presidential candidates as the trigger-happy Dr. Strangeloves lest they nuke again.

The authorities framed a Communist for the murder of the president in Dallas. The John Birch Society, the mafia, and the CIA assassinated him.

Robert Kennedy can’t be held responsible for bugging Martin Luther King’s hotel rooms and wiretapping his phones. Kennedy’s underling, J. Edgar Hoover, forced him to do it.

Peace-loving liberals would never have gotten America involved in the Vietnam War. The Republican falsely credited with ending the draft and bringing American troops home makes a more likely Vietnam villain.

A Democratic president didn’t craft the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military. It must have been the work of homophobic right wingers. 

Ignorance is bliss. Today’s liberals get history so wrong because yesterday’s liberals were so often in the wrong (at least by the standards of today’s liberals). Ironically, amidst much to be ashamed of, 20th-Century liberalism occasionally came down on the side of common sense—the Smith Act empowering the law to go on the offensive against domestic subversives and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise, to name just two such policies.

There is more to be condemned than commended, but even liberalism’s present-day defenders find a way to confuse the bad with the good. Rather than come to terms with the fallibility of their secular religion, liberals imagine away past embarrassments or crusade now against what they implemented then.

The Joy Behar-Whoopi Goldberg meltdown highlights the worst in American liberalism: attitudinal pressure masquerading as argument, a smug alienation from the surrounding culture, a fetish for euphemism, and a conceit that holds contrary positions as indecent.

Worst of all, the made-for-TV spectacle demonstrates that when reality clashes with ideology, too many liberals opt for comforting delusions over disconcerting facts. Nineteen Muslims killed thousands of Americans on September 11, 2001.