Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Limits of Liberalism

Professor Walter Russell Mead writes in The American Interest about the limits of liberalism in the U.S. He observes the left is beginning to grasp the following awful-to-them truths:
No gun massacre is horrible enough to change Americans’ ideas about gun control. No UN Climate Report will get a climate treaty through the U.S. Senate. No combination of anecdotal and statistical evidence will persuade Americans to end their longtime practice of giving police officers extremely wide discretion in the use of force. No “name and shame” report, however graphic, from the Senate Intelligence Committee staff will change the minds of the consistent majority of Americans who tell pollsters that they believe that torture is justifiable under at least some circumstances. No feminist campaign will convince enough voters that the presumption of innocence should not apply to those accused of rape.
I think he may overstate Americans' tolerance for true torture. We're okay with coercive interrogation that is psychologically abusive, extremely fatiguing and uncomfortable without being life-threatening. OTOH, the do-what-it-takes Jack Bauer character of "24" did not evoke revulsion.