For a brief moment in the height of the Bush hysteria, conventional liberals of the Tbogg variety knew what it was like to be one of us– to be reflexively dismissed from the conversation, to be asked to take loyalty oaths and purity tests, to be subject to redbaiting and McCarthyism, to constantly hear dark talk of culls and purges from within. I mean they literally say, these days, “you’re either with us or against us,” talk that they themselves rightly ridiculed as the language of fascism not five years ago. Back then, they correctly perceived that these kind of tactics are inherently illiberal, totally contrary to the spirit of free inquiry and skepticism that is the deep structure of democracy and liberal society. They knew, then, that blind adherence to parties and leaders was a moral and intellectual failure. They knew, then, that bullying groupthink and categorical exclusions and affinity pledges and threats were each and all ugly, unfortunate, and totally antithetical to the more equitable and just world they seek to build. And then, they forgot. And it makes people crazy in a truly frightening way; it takes reasonable, progressive people like DougJ and turns them into Manichean monsters.
(bold mine, natch)
Here’s the thing: not everyone on the left is a strict non-interventionist (Freddie’s post is mostly about insufficient liberal criticism of Obama’s foreign policy). I don’t think it’s insane, or inconsistent, to have been for the mission in Bosnia, for the invasion of Afghanistan (though I think now it might have been a mistake), against Iraq II, against bombing Iran, and ambivalent about what’s going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan right now.
There’s probably no more emasculating phrase than “reasonable progressive” anyway.