[CrackMonkey] Orthodox Union Action Alert
bob at ruptured-duck.com
Sun Oct 7 22:34:24 PDT 2001
On Sun, Oct 07, 2001 at 10:45:11PM -0600, Elite Dark Clown wrote:
> Looks like America had slipped your mind. You know, baptist church bombers,
> abortion clinic sharp shooters and government agency modifiers. Well they
> are prolly not technically terrorists since they do not wear a turban.
October 4, 2001
The Agony of the Left
by Andrew Sullivan
One of the most telling things I have seen since the Sept. 11 massacre
was an early "peace movement" e-mail. It listed three major demands:
stop the war; stop racism; stop ethnic scapegoating. A liberal friend
had appended a sardonic comment to the bottom. "Any chance we could
come out against terrorism as well?"
One of the overlooked aspects of the war we are now fighting is the
awakening it has spawned on the left. In one atrocity, Osama bin Laden
may have accomplished what a generation of conservative writers have
failed to do: convince mainstream liberals of the illogic and nihilism
of the powerful postmodern left. For the first time in a very long
while, many liberals are reassessing -- quietly for the most part --
their alliance with the anti-American, anti-capitalist forces they
have long appeased, ignored or supported.
Of course the initial response of left-wing intellectuals to Sept. 11
was one jerking of the collective knee. This was America's fault. From
Susan Sontag to Michael Moore, from Noam Chomsky to Edward Said, there
was no question that, however awful the attack on the World Trade
Center, it was vital to keep attention fixed on the real culprit: the
United States. Of the massacre, a Rutgers professor summed up the
consensus by informing her students that "We should be aware that,
whatever its proximate cause, its ultimate cause is the fascism of
U.S. foreign policy over the past many decades." Or as a poster at the
demonstrations in Washington last weekend put it, "Amerika, Get A
Less noticed was the reasoned stance of liberal groups like the
National Organization for Women. President Kim Candy stated that "The
Taliban government of Afghanistan, believed to be harboring suspect
Osama bin Laden, subjugates women and girls, and deprives them of the
most basic human rights -- including education, medicine and jobs. The
smoldering remains of the World Trade Center are a stark reminder that
when such extremism is allowed to flourish anywhere in the world, none
of us is safe." The NAACP issued an equally forceful "message of
resolve," declaring, "These tragedies and these acts of evil must not
go unpunished. Justice must be served."
Left-wing dissident Christopher Hitchens, meanwhile, assailed his
comrades as "soft on crime and soft on fascism." After an initial
spasm of equivocation, the American Prospect magazine ran a column
this week accusing the pre-emptive peace movement of "a truly vile
form of moral equivalency" in equating President Bush with terrorists.
Not a hard call, but daring for a magazine that rarely has even a
civil word for the right.
Most moving was Salman Rushdie's early call in the New York Times to
"be clear about why this bien-pensant anti-American onslaught is such
appalling rubbish. Terrorism is the murder of the innocent; this time,
it was mass murder. To excuse such an atrocity by blaming U.S.
government policies is to deny the basic idea of all morality: that
individuals are responsible for their actions." Whatever else is going
on, the liberal-left alliance has taken as big a hit as the
conservative-fundamentalist alliance after the blame-America remarks
of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
It's not hard to see why. Unlike previous Cold War battles, this one
is against an enemy with no pretense at any universal, secular
ideology that could appeal to Western liberals. However repulsive, the
communist arguments of, say, Ho Chi Minh or Fidel Castro still
appealed to a secular, Western ideology. American leftists could
delude themselves that they shared the same struggle.
But with Osama bin Laden, and the Islamo-fascism of the Taliban, no
such delusions are possible. The American liberal mind has long
believed that their prime enemy in America is the religious right. But
if Jerry Falwell is the religious right, what does that make the
Taliban? They subjugate women with a brutality rare even in the Muslim
world; they despise Jews; they execute homosexuals by throwing them
from very high buildings or crushing them underneath stone walls.
There is literally nothing that the left can credibly cling to in
rationalizing support for these hate-filled fanatics.
This is therefore an excruciating moment for the postmodern,
post-colonial left. They may actually have come across an enemy that
even they cannot argue is morally superior to the West. You see this
discomfort in the silence of the protestors in Washington, who simply
never raised the issue of bin Laden's ideology. You see it in Barbara
Ehrenreich's sad plea in the Village Voice: "What is so heartbreaking
to me as a feminist is that the strongest response to corporate
globalization and U.S. military domination is based on such a violent
and misogynist ideology."
You see it in the words of Fredric Jameson, a revered postmodernist at
Duke University, arguing in the London Review of Books that the roots
of the conflict are to be found "in the wholesale massacres of the
Left systematically encouraged and directed by the Americans in an
even earlier period . . . . It is, however, only now that the results
are working their way out into actuality, for the resultant absence of
any Left alternative means that popular revolt and resistance in the
Third World have nowhere to go but into religious and 'fundamentalist'
forms." The only adequate description of this argument is desperate.
And, of course, it ducks the hard question. What does the left do now
that these forces are indeed fundamentalist?
The other rhetorical trope that is fast disintegrating is the
anti-racist argument. The doctrine of "post-colonialism" which now
dominates many American humanities departments invariably sides with
Third World regimes against the accumulated evil of the West. So the
emergence of the Taliban is a body-blow. If dark-skinned peoples are
inherently better than light-skinned peoples, then how does a
dark-skinned culture come up with an ideology that is clearly a
function of bigotry, misogyny and homophobia?
One immediate response is to argue that the U.S. itself created Osama
bin Laden in its war against Soviet communism. This isn't true -- but
even if it were, doesn't this fact, as Mr. Hitchens has argued,
actually increase the West's responsibility to retaliate against him?
It may be, in fact, that one of the silver linings of these awful
times is that the far left's bluff has been finally called. War
focuses issues in ways peace cannot.
Leftists would like to pretend that any criticism of their views
raises the spectre of domestic repression. But in a country with a
First Amendment, no suppression from government is likely, and in the
citadels of the media and the academy, the far left is actually vastly
over-represented. The real issue, as pointed out this week by
Britain's Labour prime minister, is that some on the left have
expressed "a hatred of America that shames those that feel it."
The left's howls of anguish are therefore essentially phony -- and
they stem from a growing realization that this crisis has largely
destroyed the credibility of the far left. Forced to choose between
the West and the Taliban, the hard left simply cannot decide. Far from
concealing this ideological bankruptcy, we need to expose it and
condemn it as widely and as irrevocably as we can. Many liberals are
already listening and watching -- and the tectonic plates of politics
are shifting as they do.
Esmond, R.I., USA
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