The Freedom Haters

Anne Applebaum, one of America’s most insightful journalists, has hit the nail on the head in a column in today’s Washington Post, “The Freedom Haters.” As she points out:

At least a part of the Western left — or rather the Western far left — is now so anti-American, or so anti-Bush, that it actually prefers authoritarian or totalitarian leaders to any government that would be friendly to the United States. Many of the same people who found it hard to say anything bad about Saddam Hussein find it equally difficult to say anything nice about pro-democracy demonstrators in Ukraine. Many of the same people who would refuse to condemn a dictator who is anti-American cannot bring themselves to admire democrats who admire, or at least don’t hate, the United States. I certainly don’t believe, as President Bush sometimes simplistically says, that everyone who disagrees with American policies in Iraq or elsewhere “hates freedom.” That’s why it’s so shocking to discover that some of them do.

But it’s not just the far left. A variety of kooks at and at, notably Lew Rockwell, Tom DiLorenzo, and Justin Raimondo, have joined the far left in their venomous hatred for Viktor Yushchenko and the opposition in Ukraine and for Iraqis who dare to join the police or the army to take a stand against the jihadist beheaders and Ba’athist terrorists, as I showed in my posts of November 26 (1, 2) and 28 (1). They have become morally unhinged.

11 Responses to “The Freedom Haters”

  1. I thought Applebaum’s column was spot on today, and I agree that the Raimondos and LRCers have gone off the deep end with the whole CIA-neocon-Yushchenko plot theory (doesn’t it just /sound/ bizarre?), but don’t you think Applebaum has been a bit shrill and over the top as well? One of her headlines ran “The New Iron Curtain.”

    Really? The new IRON CURTAIN? Gosh, I’d hope if that were the case, we’d be hearing a lot more about this than we are. In that column, she seems to imply that Putin is actively trying to drop a new Iron Curtain up to…well…neatly up to the new boundaries of NATO. (Maybe if we cared this much about the Ukrainians we should have been thinking about what Russia’s response to NATO expansion would be.)

    What I think he more likely wants is the pan-Slavic Union that they’ve been talking about for ages now, with Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan all in it. But to evoke the Iron Curtain is a bit over the top, I think. Soviet-style economics? Lockdowns on emigration? Gulags? Rhetoric is important.

    It’s pretty clear to me from talking to election observers and Ukrainian friends that there’s a good guy and a bad guy here, and as good people we should root for the good guy, but I just think some of the rhetoric on the good guy side has been way over the top.

  2. Tom G. Palmer

    Maybe. But I think that the term “The New Iron Curtain” is not so over-the-top when applied to the regime that President Lukashenko is defending (so far rather successfully) in Belarus and the possibility that such a regime could become entrenched in Uraine. A burning question for the Ukrainians — and for everyone who cherishes freedom — is whether Ukraine will become more like Belarus or more like Poland. If they take the route of Belarus, and if they are integrated, along with Belarus, not in a *slavic* federation (the Poles, Bulgarians, Serbs, Czechs, Sorbs, Slovaks, and others are Slavs, too), but in a *Russian*-dominated federation, that would not bode well for either freedom within those countries or for the relations between western and eastern Europe. It’s time to put an end to the gangsterism that has characterized so much of the post-Soviet world, and the Ukrainians have a shot at breaking free of that model. If the Ukrainian opposition is successful, it will be more likely that Russia and even Belarus will follow. If they fail, a new Greater Russia would probably be far less free than it is even now and a bad neighbor for the surrounding nations.

  3. I certainly don’t agree with the Iraq intervention, even though Saddam was a brutal tyrant. I do not agree with most of American foreign policy generally. But I entirely agree with you, Tom, about the moral terms at stake. It’s hard enough to have to make the case for non-interventionist libertarianism without having to explain that I don’t agree at all with the lunacy emanating from Auburn.

    Thanks for putting things in the proper perspective.

  4. Tom, the more I hear you whinge and misrepresent the really stand-up libertarians, the more I realize that you are just out to knock the competition. Guruvada: it’s a racket!

  5. Tom G. Palmer

    Well, “Antaeus,” anyone can just read their words and then determine for themselves whether I am misrepresenting them. No doubt I would become wealthy and powerful were they to be knocked out of “the competition,” so I’m sure that that must explain my criticisms of them. A venal motivation of that sort is surely a more plausible explanation for my criticism than merely finding their views morally repulsive.

  6. 1) This phenomenon that Anne Applebaum describes isn’t new.

    2) In “A New Ukraine vs. a Revival of the Old USSR? (And a Peek into the the American Fever Swamp)” Tom said, “[s]howing remarkable modesty, Rockwell has posted on his site the following letter (in response to a truly cloying self-congratulatory essay on how principled he is — although readers may be wondering, “just what principles would those be?”)”

    In fact, Tom Dilorenzo posted it on the blog after receiving it from a Thomas L.

  7. I posted this before…

    Understand that Rockwell and Raimondo, much like Rothbard, are political lenninists. They believe in lying and dishonsty to infiltrate existing groups/movements (Libertarian Party, Reform Party, anti-war groups, etc) to take over and use to create anarchotopia.

    It is possible that they are just confused and being truthful about their unfounded pro-communist anti-war sentiments.

    But I think it is more possible they are instead just pathetically failing at bringing on the “Popular Front Vanguard” through the anti-war Left.

    So they are either cynical, dishonest liars trying to trick people into their politics or they really are pro-communist and pro-dictator. Both are equally revolting positions.

  8. Tom G. Palmer

    Interesting comments. LB is correct that the named poster on the lewrockwell site of the fawning letter to Lew Rockwell was Tom DiLorenzo, but it was put up on “,” which is run by Lew Rockwell, which was why I wrote that “Rockwell has posted on his site.” Writing a self-congratulatory essay of the sort to which the letter responded was odd enough, but then putting up such a cloying and gag-inducing letter was worse. But that’s truly a very minor vice in comparison with the smearing of the Ukrainian opposition by DiLorenzo and Rockwell.

  9. Tom, so what you are in fact saying is that while Lew Rockwell didn’t post the gag-inducing letter on his site (actually a group blog) he is being immodest in not unposting the letter, as he runs the site. A bit different from what you actually wrote, stating that he personally “posted” it? If not, why not just say that Tom DiLorenzo posted it and let the readers decide?

    Yours pedantically,

  10. Unless, of course, every post by everyone of the group goes to him first and then he puts it up. I would be surprised if that is how it actually worked. Full apologies if this is actually the case.

  11. Tom G. Palmer

    It seems a pedantic point to me. Rockwell takes things down from his site and if the site has his name on it, that seems the kind of thing that would be embarrassing to have on it. But it’s his ego, not mine. Since I linked directly to DiLorenzo’s post, any reader could have seen how it got up there. In any case, that little bit of bad taste is insignificant in comparison to the more thoroughly revolting tactic of DiLorenzo, Rockwell, and Raimondo in promoting a “hate America” agenda that has led them into praising authoritarians, totalitarians, and barbarians, so long as they’re not part of “the Empire.”