Wherein I Side With Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol takes on Glenn Beck (and others):
Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it’s a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.

But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.


Let’s hope that as talk radio hosts find time for reflection, and commentators step back to take a deep breath, they will recall that one of the most hopeful aspects of the current conservative revival is its reclamation of the American constitutionalist tradition. That tradition is anchored even beyond the Constitution, of course, in the Declaration of Independence. And that document, let’s not forget, proclaims that, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”

An American conservatism that looks back to 1776 cannot turn its back on the Egyptian people. We should wish them well—and we should work to help them achieve as good an outcome as possible.
My emphasis.

Now, I'm not a fan of Kristol (see here, here and here), but he raises a great point in this column.

I understand that the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world will do just about anything to oppose a Democrat. That much is painfully clear. BUT, by criticizing the President on Egypt, Beck and the others are siding with an elected leader dictator and opposing the will of the (allegedly) free people of Egypt.

Kudos to Bill Kristol for seeing that fact.

However, I would argue that everyone is wrong on this one -- as the U.S. should simply not get involved. At all. Let the people of Egypt do what they'd like to do, and when the dust settles we can worry about our foreign policy with that nation.

Head nod: Nick at The Pragmatic Center