Slowly, an intelligent opposition to the Bush administration’s domestic and foreign policies is taking shape. Not only from leftists: some thoughtful conservatives have begun to worry out loud about the ideological stridency and rigidity of their own leaders. There was plenty of stridency and rigidity on the left, too, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and a number of us at Dissent criticized the reflexive opposition of leftists who could not recognize or acknowledge what had happened on that fateful day. But opposition is necessary; we need to argue among ourselves about what form it should take and how it should be focused. What policies of the contemporary right is it most urgent to oppose? How should people committed to democracy, civil liberties, and equality deal with, join in, and resist Bush’s version of the war against terrorism? These are some of the questions we address in this issue of Dissent.
Gordon Lafer’s insistence that we fight on two fronts provides a kind of keynote. There can’t be any disengagement from the war against privilege and corruption, both of which are embodied in our current government. The Democratic Party has had great difficulty engaging in any compelling way-though the opportunity is there, as Harold Meyerson argues. By contrast, Bush and his friends seem never to have imagined that the war against terrorism required any halt to the aggrandizement of their own we...
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