From: "Pedro Martori"
Subject: The left has lost its moral bearings
charset = "UTF-8"
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 22:25:55 -0500
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 22:29:58 EST
Organization: Bell Sympatico
De: "ricardo gonzalez"
Asunto: The left has lost its moral bearings
Fecha: Lunes, 28 de Octubre de 2002 10:20 p.m.
John Leo October 28, 2002
The left has lost its moral bearings
Everywhere you turn these days, someone on the left is denouncing =
Bush as Hitler, Satan, a terrorist or a tyrannical emperor. A Yale law
professor said Bush is "the most dangerous man on Earth." A famous =
referred to Bush as "a lawn jockey" and "Pinocchio."
Some of the angry rhetoric flirts with the fringe idea that the United
States planned the terrorist attacks. A Purdue professor said "there is =
ground to be certain" that America and Israel aren't behind the 9/11
attacks. A Columbia law professor compared 9/11 to the Reichstag fire in
Nazi Germany -- Bush is not responsible for 9/11, he said, but he =
a national disaster to suspend civil liberties, just like Hitler. A =
professor helpfully pointed out that some Indonesian groups think the =
planned the Bali bombing.
The rhetoric accurately reflects the current condition of much of the
left -- bitter, stymied, alienated, politically impotent, full of =
for America and the West, and totally unable to address the crisis =
by 9/11, except to imply (or say) that the U.S. deserved to be attacked.
The left has lost its bearings, Michael Walzer, the political =
wrote in the spring issue of Dissent, the leftist magazine he edits. His
article, "Can There Be a Decent Left?" deplored "the barely concealed =
of the left's reaction to 9/11, and the lack of "any visible concern" =
how to prevent terrorism in the future.
"Many left intellectuals live in America like internal aliens," he =
"refusing to identify with their fellow citizens, regarding any hint of
patriotic feeling as politically incorrect. That's why they had such
difficulty responding emotionally to the attacks of Sept. 11 or joining =
the expressions of solidarity that followed."
The favorite posture of many American leftists, Walzer said, is =
a righteous minority, brave and determined, amid the timid, the corrupt =
the wicked. A posture like that ensures at once the moral superiority of =
left and its political failure." He said the left needs to discard its
"ragtag Marxism" and its belief that America is corrupt beyond remedy.
Solidarity with people in trouble is the most profound commitment that
leftists make, he wrote, but even the oppressed have obligations, and =
to avoid murdering innocent people. "Leftists who cannot insist on this
point, even to people poorer and weaker than themselves, have abandoned =
politics and morality for something else."
An example of that abandonment came two weeks ago (EDITOR: Oct. 12-14) =
the University of Michigan's pro-Palestinian conference, which could not
bring itself to criticize suicide bombings. Save us from moral appeals =
leave room for blowing up families in supermarkets.
Journalist Christopher Hitchens caused a bigger hubbub than Walzer when =
resigned from The Nation magazine after 20 years, citing its anti-war =
on Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote in his farewell column, is "a filthy
menace" and "there is not the least doubt that he has acquired some of =
means of genocide and hopes to collect some more." He thought The Nation =
become "the echo chamber of those who truly believe that John Ashcroft =
greater menace than Osama bin Laden."
In another article, Hitchens wrote: "I can only hint at how much I =
left that thinks of Osama bin Laden as a slightly misguided
anti-imperialist. ... Instead of internationalism, we find among the =
now a sort of affectless, neutralist, smirking isolationism" and "a
masochistic refusal to admit that our own civil society has any merit."
Ron Rosenbaum of the New York Observer said Hitchens' departure from The
Nation was sad because he "forced a lot of people on the left to =
their blind spot, their on-bended-knee obeisance to anyone in the Third
World who posed as a 'liberator,' from Mao to Castro to Arafat and the
Rosenbaum's comments came in an article on his own defection, "Goodbye, =
That: How Left Idiocies Drove me to Flee." One trigger: a well-respected
academic said he welcomed 9/11 because it gave Americans a chance to
reassess their past honestly, as Germans did in the 1960s. "I couldn't =
it any more," Rosenbaum wrote. "Goodbye to all that ... the inability to
distinguish between America's sporadic blundering depredations" and =
Germany. Goodbye, he said, to the refusal to admit that "Marxist =
slaughtered some 20 million to 50 million people in Russia, China and
Cambodia. And goodbye to the "peace marches" like the one in Madrid =
women wore suicide-bomber belts as bikinis. "'Peace' somehow doesn't =
blowing up Jewish children," Rosenbaum wrote.
We owe a debt to Walzer, Hitchens and Rosenbaum. Now will they make any
difference to our hyperalienated left?
Contact John Leo | Read his biography
=C2=A92002 Universal Press Syndicate
QUICK LINKS: HOME | NEWS | OPINION | RIGHTPAGES | CHAT | WHAT'S =