“But never is liberalism itself to blame.”

liberalfascismFrom Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism:

It is telling that while we constantly hear about America’s racist past and our need to redeem ourselves via racial quotas, slavery reparations, and other overtures toward “historically oppressed groups,” it is rare indeed that anyone mentions the founders of American liberalism. Again, when liberals are the historical villains, the crime is laid at the feet of America itself. The crime is considered proof of America’s conservative past. When conservatives sin, the sin is conservatism’s alone. But never is liberalism itself to blame.

Consider the infamous Tuskegee experiments, where poor black men were allegedly infected with syphilis without their knowledge and then monitored for years. In the common telling, the episode is an example of southern racism and American backwardness. In some versions, black men were even deliberately infected with syphilis as part of some kind of embryonic genocidal program. In fact, the Tuskegee experiments were approved and supported by well-meaning health professionals who saw nothing wrong or racist with playing God. As the University of Chicago’s Richard Shweder writes, the “study emerged out of a liberal progressive public health movement concerned about the health and wellbeing of the African-Americal population.” If racism played a part, as it undoubtedly did, it was the racism of liberals, not conservative. But that’s not how the story is told.

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