Never mind al-Qaeda, it’s now the Left that hates America’s freedoms

Progressives now use censorship as a weapon, increasingly working in unison to stamp out the views of those who dissent from the Left's consensus.

As we observed the 21st anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, two thoughts came to mind: First, of course, remembering the thousands of heroes and victims who perished on that awful day.

Second, recalling how much we got wrong in the aftermath. 

President George W. Bush addressed the nation on September 20, 2001, fingering the terrorist group al-Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden as the culprits for the attacks. This would lead to America’s longest war in Afghanistan where we ultimately accomplished nothing, and a long war in Iraq that was just as pointless and had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

Still, that night Bush explained why he believed these terrorists hated us so much.

“They hate our freedomsour freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other,” Bush said.

Bush implied that such freedoms were most nations’ universal desires, framing his new War on Terror as a battle of the world against extremists. 

“This is not, however, just America’s fight,” the president warned. “And what is at stake is not just America’s freedom.”  

“This is the world’s fight. This is civilization’s fight,” Bush promised. “This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.”

Never mind the fact that the terrorists had specific reasons for the attack, all based on U.S. foreign policy and not basic Western liberties. To date, no 9/11s have occurred in Canada or Holland. Never mind that high-profile figures such as conservative pundit Pat Buchanan had warned two years prior that such an attack could happen due to constant U.S. intervention in the Middle East. 

Libertarian icon Ron Paul would later famously make the same observation during a 2007 Republican presidential debate.

Regardless, the terrorists might have hated American freedoms, culture, and mores for religious reasons, but they attacked us for our policies.

Yet today, strangely enough, it seems that many Americans on the Left really do hate our most basic freedoms.

I was a young adult when Bush held up “freedom of speech,” “our freedom to… disagree with each other,” “pluralism” and “tolerance” as national ideals worth protecting. This was liberalism as it had been historically understood and values I subscribe to today as a libertarian conservative.

The contemporary Left is rejecting all of this. Mainstream progressives have arrived at the point where they now believe that former President Donald Trump, his supporters, and what they represent are so vile that censoring certain speech is necessary. They believe that “agreeing to disagree” is not good enough, falling hard in favor of only allowing speech they agree with. Pluralism and tolerance are out the window, as even the current President of the United States openly calls Trump supporters fascists.

Ben Carson defended liberalism from Joe Biden’s attacks on it at an event over the weekend.

For millions of self-identified “liberals,” liberalism is dead.

This effort is so massive and happening so quickly that most progressives don’t even recognize it, even as conservatives and independents are feeling it in real-time, because lefties ultimately agree with its ends. (There is also an increasing Right illiberal trend that we frequently cover at BASEDPolitics, but, to date, most of these figures haven’t possessed the same institutional power or broad reach as their Left brethren).

If you want to gauge how widespread this rejection of free speech is on the mainstream Left, ask a progressive friend, “Do you believe in free speech?” You are likely to get a ‘yes.’

Follow up by asking if they believe in allowing “disinformation.” You are likely to get a ‘no.’

That answer is a long way from the ACLU defending Nazi speech in the 1970s, and is a wholesale rejection of the earlier Left concept of free speech, which most considered absolute with exceptions for calls for violence.

Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald recently laid out the machinations of this phenomenon in an extensive Twitter thread:

Shock can make people believe untrue things. The jarring impact of Trumpism on the Left has led to them rationalizing why abandoning the most basic precepts of liberal democracyexpression, dissent, pluralismis justified. Similarly, only many years after the fact were more Americans able to see how the Red Scare communist hunt of the 1950s betrayed American values, but during the time many thought it was necessary.

We surrender our liberties in times of fear, whether it is Red Scares, terrorist scares, or MAGA Scares. 

Twenty-one years removed from the 9/11 attacks, it is easier to analyze how that tragedy and related events unfolded because the initial shock has faded. Believing terrorists hated us for our “freedoms” was a soothing, if wrong, answer that made us feel good at the time.

But George W. Bush was still right about these freedoms as defining American principles, and the need to protect them from enemies.

Foreign and domestic.

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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunter
Jack Hunter is a freelance writer, the co-author of Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book ‘The Tea Party Goes to Washington’ and the former politics editor for