No treason here

Eugene Volokh asks a good question: Who in the West wants the other side to win in Iraq?
And he gets a pretty clear answer: among Americans, roughly no one you’ve heard of.
That’s good news, and we should thank Eugene for asking the question and showing up Rush Limbaugh for the liar that we have always known him to be.

Sometimes it seems to me that my fellow inhabitatants of Blue Blogistan are deficient in gratitude for the good services performed for us, and the country, by the honest dwellers in Red Blogistan. (Of the other denizens of that ruby-colored realm, the least said the soonest mended.)

For example, my Red but honest friend Eugene Volokh did the world a favor by challenging his fellow Reds to catalogue the supposed pro-insurgent sentiment in the West, and by specifying that he wanted only unambiguous and well-sourced comments.

The result was, naturally, very thin gruel as far as Americans are concerned: one thoroughly unfortunate but perhaps not ill-intended remark by Michael Moore was about it as far as prominent Americans are concerned. (It’s possible that Moore merely meant that the insurgents had the fortunate political position of the Minutemen in opposing foreign rule, rather than that they shared with those Colonial heroes the moral high ground.) Other than Moore, the most nearly famous American names were Janeane Garofolo (a comedienne) and the woman who did the Vagina Monologues.

Not a single Democratic officeholder or office-seeker, not a single prominent journalist, not a single academic anyone has ever heard of. When fellow-conspirator Dave Kopel is reduced to naming a retired professor from SUNY and a Green Party candidate for Congress, you know there was simply nothing there.

Now this isn’t a surprise to you and me, but surely it was to many of Volokh’s readers. The fact that many American liberals hated the right-wing dictators and dictator wannabes who were our (mostly useless or worse-than-useless) allies in the Cold War got the right wing used to being able to label the good guys Communist sympathizers, and they’ve carried that habit over into a new world where it doesn’t apply at all. (If anyone in the U.S. has ideological sympathy with the anti-liberal, anti-feminist, theocratic Islamists we are now fighting, it’s the Robertson/Falwell crowd.)

Tactically, the Volokh survey creates a huge advantage for the good guys. Now, when Rush Limbaugh claims that “half the Democratic party” is in the habit of speaking out “against this country” and consequently ought to be sent into exile, we can simply point people to the Volokh Conspiracy for conclusive evidence that Rush is full of crap. (Unless, that is, speaking out against torture and against claims that the President has “inherent power” to shred the laws whenever he thinks it necessary count as speaking out against the country.)

And, what’s more, we can count on support from Eugene himself, who says that “falsely claiming that someone (or the majority of some group) is rooting for the bad guys in a war is indeed pretty egregious misbehavior.”

I conclude, then, that all right-thinking Americans owe Eugene Volokh a vote of thanks both for posing the question and posting the answer, given how hostile the truth turned out to be to the rhetoric of some of his co-partisans.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: