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The Values of the Left
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I seem to have a pretty fair mix of readers here, and a good number of you are admittedly from the ideological Left. So could you clarify a particular core problem that continues to nag me about the notion of value systems when it comes to liberal thinking?

Basically, many on the Left speak as if they are the standard-bearers for individual rights and liberties, right? More often than not gay rights, women's rights...civil rights in general are associated with the political Left. The ACLU is most often regarded as an extremely liberal organization. Am I making a reasonable generalization so far?

Liberals also seem to express a great deal of concern for the rights of those in other countries, but mostly when the suffering is inflicted by Western countries (e.g. sweatshops, corporate exploitation, environmental damage caused by our CO2 emissions).

The Left very quickly and readily condemns such behavior, and often rightly so.

What I don't get is the Left's foot-shuffling and excuse-making for horrid human rights abuses committed against foreigners, by foreigners.

Why the reluctance to condemn Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Il's regimes? Maybe it's a misperception on my part, but there seems to be a lot of mocking of Bush's categorization of evil, and more of a reaction of "Well yeah, there're not nice, but..." from the Left.

If you truly do value individual liberties and human rights, why would you have a problem condemning people like Kim Jong Il? People here scream and holler when something like the Patriot Act makes it easier to wiretap non-citizens. Meanwhile, the DPRK is rounding up people and putting them in forced labor camps.

Does it make sense to value a woman's right to choose in America, but not her right to laugh or drive or wear what she wants if she lives in another country?

This just seems like a gross inconsistency to me, proclaiming to value certain rights, but not in their application to all cultures, almost as if it's some sort of imperial dogma to say women in every culture should have equal rights.

So is this inconsistency imagined on my part? If not, could somebody try to cogently explain what's going on here?

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