I suspect that Jeff Sadow’s diatribe (The Advocate. Nov. 27) against what he sees as the evils of liberalism would surprise his students who, one would hope, have been taught the virtues of accurate and truthful writing. Granting his right as a columnist to express his own views, one would still expect to see some measure of intellectual honesty.
No liberal or progressive — pick your term — would recognize his or her beliefs and values in Sadow’s description of them. The progressive agenda, however diverse the individuals and groups that support it, consists of one core belief, and that is that every person has value. The means that those who are struggling in face of the challenges of modern life deserve support, and that government is the most effective means of offering that support. It is, in short, a message of compassion for one’s fellow man. Why that worldview should threaten Sadow so much and stimulate such anger is beyond me. What is it about progressive thought that is so frightening, to the extent that Sadow trots out the old cold-war trope that liberals are “pinkos?” I am afraid that Sadow is one of those old angry white guys who feel the ground giving way under them and have nothing left but to lash out at the inclusiveness that is the hallmark of liberalism. Just as an aside, one of the many inaccuracies in this column is the statement that family income in real dollars is $2,500 below 2004; in fact it is slightly higher.
The Democratic Party may be in some disarray, but liberalism is alive and well. It aspires to eliminate poverty, provide everyone with health care, and no, it does not want to eliminate guns, just the misuse of them. Above all, it is the left that is the guardian of liberty, civil and individual, something that reactionaries of Sadow’s ilk cannot bear. Why is that the case? Because of the progressive commitment I mentioned above, that every person has value.