Beyond Moral Equivalency

"The triumph of demagogies is short-lived. But the ruins are eternal."
—Charles Peguy

Jeane Kirkpatrick has given us two useful ways to think about that segment of the American intelligentsia that continuously finds fault with virtually everything this country does: they are the "blame America first" crowd and the believers in "moral equivalency." After reading S. Steven Powell's penetrating study, Covert Cadre: Inside the Institute for Policy Studies, it seems clear that a new vocabulary is needed. If some of the nation's critics "blame America first," it is because many of them "hate America first," i.e., they find the political, economic, social, and cultural institutions of America more offensive than those existing anywhere on the globe. It is not "moral equivalency" they seek to promote, but "moral malfeasance"—they hope to convince the world of the immorality and venality of everything American. There is no better example of the "hate America first" crowd than the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). Founded in 1963 by Richard Barnet and Marcus Raskin, two disenchanted members of the foreign policy establishment in the Kennedy administration, IPS has spent the past quarter century trying to undermine the foundations of American society and destroy its defensive capabilities....

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