June 28, 2012

Why Glenn Greenwald is no liberal

Have you ever seen/heard/read him talk about things like labor rights or income (in)equality?

Well, maybe that's in part because this ardent defender of the ACLU butters his bread on those issues the same way the ACLU does, including getting Koch dollars.

Yep, you read that right.

ExiledOnline has details. This is why, among civil liberties groups, I tout the Center for Constitutional Rights, not the ACLU.

Beyond that, Glenn's never addressed issues such as the ACLU board purge several years back.

Gay rights and Gitmo? Yes, Glenn's great.

But, always remember, he's a libertarian, at bottom line, with a strong civil liberties streak. And nothing else. That part may be too harsh; he has commented about the banksters and all the problems they've caused. But, one word ever about unions? Or  fair trade instead of free trade? Nope.

Here's my in-body response to Glenn's first comment:

I may (or may not) have overstated the “not a liberal” part, but other complaints against Greenwald? No I haven’t.

First, I was a semi-regular to regular reader of his Salon column from 2008-2011, and somewhat, earlier. In the last 6-9 months, that’s faded off.

That said, let’s start with issues related to Exiled’s piece and move from there more directly to its “no liberal” issues —

1. Glenn has, to the best of my  knowledge, NEVER written about the mid-2000s purge attempt within the ACLU board led by then-president Nadine Strossen and meant to cover up for hypocrisy by executive director Anthony Romero over the Patriot Act. I know because I’ve tweeted and emailed him more than once.

2. Glenn has also never, to the best of my knowledge, written about other problems at ACLU in the past 10-15 years, including problems of “inside the Beltway” type self fixation. These, as well as the board purge and much more, have been expertly covered by Wendy Kaminer. To the best of my knowledge, Greenwald’s never addressed her. More here, and here, from others.

I mean, data mining members? Glenn craps his pants over the government doing stuff like this. Romero should have resigned at the time this became public, rather than, over a separate issue, trying to silence Kaminer and another board member, literally, to try to institute a gag order preventing internal disagreements from being discussed with the press.

3. When Glenn did address problems at CREW a year ago, his focus was narrow and related to his personal concerns. He never addressed the issue of why Lanny Davis got connected to CREW in the first place, because he was somewhat of an "insider," perhaps. He never has mentioned Davis’ support for anti-liberal for-profit colleges, a big concern for a group that was supposed to be for responsibility and ethics and against "insiderism." Again, I know because I tweeted and emailed him.

4. Glenn has had somewhat of a “bromance” with Ron Paul as “the” civil liberties presidential candidate. This ignores that Gary Johnson is more of a civil libertarian and all-around libertarian. Even more, it ignores Green Party candidates of past and present. Again, I know because I’ve tweeted and emailed him. And blogged about it here.

5. Glenn has, when (rightfully) bashing the U.S. for its gay immigration policy vis-à-vis the Brazil of his boyfriend, has ignored the economic inequality of Brazil. This was pointed out in an excellent column I’ve blogged about, included in the link immediately above. (Brazil also has some gay rights problems of his own; don’t know if Glenn has written about them or not.)

6. During the period I was a semi-regular to regular reader, we had the 2008 and 2010 elections. Glenn may well have occasionally written about economic liberalism, i.e., job and labor rights, income inequality, etc., but it wasn’t a regular focus of his. 

7.  We also see why he doesn't like Exiled, given this "profile piece" on him. And, Glenn, sorry, but, if you will, liberalism and libertarianism clashed head-on in Citizens United, And, by your own words, you chose the libertarian side. Yes, it may look tough as a balancing issue, but the government has long regulated campaign donation *amounts* by individuals. Or do you have a problem with that, too?

Add in that SCOTUS has now gutted Montana law on financial regulations, and its clear which said of the issue supports representative democracy, and it ain't libertarianism. Sorry, Glenn.

8. Let's not forget that Glenn was a libertarian before 9/11, too. If it hadn't been for the Patriot Act, in all likelihood, we wouldn't even be discussing this issue. We'd all know Glenn is a libertarian.

9. And, I ain't alone. Per the links above, it's also "nice" to note that the word "liar" gets used frequently. Again, your fault as much as anybody's, Glenn. And, can all the other concerned people in comments on the links above all be "tone trolls"? I think not.

Glenn's a great civil libertarian, don't get me wrong. But, per the link, so is Nat Hentoff, and it's clearer and clearer he's no liberal, either.

So, per other "challenges" you've gotten, Glenn, I'll challenge you to directly address Kaminer's writing about the ACLU. And, on unions, write about a truly liberal one. Since you think Occupy is good (even if you take away with the left hand by equating it and tea partiers), write about the Longshoremen.


Glenn Greenwald said...


I know I shouldn't care, but it just never ceases to amaze me how people are wiling to spew the most obvious falsehoods on the Interent - just say things that are complete, obvious lies:

I never wrote about income inequality? Yeah - except for the last book I wrote, which deals extensively with it, and the numerous times I've written that income inequality is one of the top two or three problems America faces, and things like this.

As for the claim that I'm an "across-the-board" libertarian, there is no more obvious or easily demonstrated lie than this.

Gadfly said...

Let's call it a partial overstatement, but one to which you've left yourself open by things such as your "bromance" with Ron Paul as, opposed to, say, Jill Stein! (And I've emailed and tweeted you about this and other issues before, as noted in my in-blog responses, including the failure to address problems at the ACLU, including, but far from limited to, the items in the Exiled column. For the overstatement, I apologize. For how many people, not just me, can get that idea, there's no apology on our side.