One of the most frustrating things about the left is that they seem to have little use for history and even less regard for objective facts. Facts have little use when you just "know" -- in your gut and with every fiber of your being -- that you are right. Emotion trumps rationality every time. How well policies work is always less important than how they make you feel. Try telling a liberal, for example, that the evidence is clear that socialism in Europe has led to flat economic growth, falling birth rates and a 1970s-style economic and social malaise, and you will get a retort about social justice, the moral imperative of universal health care and the "progressive enlightenment" of European environmental policies. On the left, its better to be enlightened than it is to be rich, I guess. In an academic exercise, such tripe is irritating but tolerable. But when such denial of reality becomes the dominant force behind U.S. government policy -- on almost every issue of importance -- it is time to take notice. I've written many times that Barack Obama lives in a "parallel universe" inhabited by lots of feel-good imagery, moral clarity and social justice. This is the universe of Europe, and his recent trip showed him quite at home among the hand-wringers and apologists who value symbolic gestures over concrete action.
On Sunday, for example, Obama spoke in Prague before a huge crowd and talked about setting the stage for nuclear disarmament -- a long-time moral imperative of the left -- even as North Korea was launching a test missile capable of delivering one of its newly-developed nuclear warheads as far as Tokyo. Mr. Obama responded to this clear violation of U.N. resolutions by referring it back to the U.N. for "further action" -- meaning more hand-wringing backed by timidity. In Obama's world, of course, the U.N. has a special moral authority, and is the arbiter of choice in this kind of crisis. Forget about its track record. The symbolism of China, Russia and France -- not to mention Syria, Gabon and Tahiti -- being in charge of global security is the kind of image that brings smiles to those who believe that the United States is "just another nation". You know who those people are, right? They are the ones now in charge of your government.
Image, as it turns out, is everything on the left. So you will forgive Obama for apologizing all over himself for American "transgressions". He goes to Turkey and apologizes in effect for America's war on terror -- saying that we "are not at war with Islam" -- when, in fact, we are at war with a significant, virulent strain of the religion. He apologizes for the excesses of American capitalism as the root of the current economic crisis, when in reality the engine of the American economy has lifted the standard of living across the world.
Obama is so sorry. In the ultimate irony, the most hubristic of presidents in modern times want to walk the globe with humility. He wants the world -- the same world that America, with its blood and treasure, has saved repeatedly from extremism of all kinds -- to know how badly we feel and how sorry we are. We feel badly for being exceptional, for leading and for fighting for human freedom.
We're sorry for saving the world. I guess next time, we'll leave you with Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein.