March 14th, 2006

The civil civil war on the left

I was reading Marc Cooper’s post entitled “Slobbering Over Slobo,” in which Cooper expresses sympathy neither with Milosevic nor with those who apologize for him. Cooper, who is what Norm Geras might refer to as a “principled leftist,” also takes on the “blame America first, often, and always” crowd:

Believe it or not there are those who continue to make out the Butcher of the Balkans as some sort of victim. The U.S. — it turns out– was the true source of evil in the decade-long series of wars that took hundreds of thousands of lives. Poor old Slobo, you see, was just a “piker” compared to the real fascists (i.e. whoever the U.S. supported).

Commenter J Cummings responds, here:

More serious is M Cooper’s subtle orwellianism. He claims that there is no distinction between Ramsey Clark and friends on one hand, and those of us, on the other hand, who put Milosevic AND Bush in the same war criminal category – and point out that in terms of raw numbers, Bush has killed more people.

Although this is an aside, one of the things that continues to amaze me is the protean use to which the adjective “Orwellian” can be put. It always strikes me as ironic that Orwell himself–Eric Blair–probably wouldn’t have been any too happy about his name being immortalized as a synonym for distorting and reversing the truth in clever and devious ways, since this is what he was warning us against. But no matter; the greater irony is that those who cry “Orwellian!” are all too often guilty of the charge themselves.

Positing this simple fact of dead=dead is a strange sort of moral equivalence. In a way, it’s actually an amoral equivalence, since taking no account of the context in which a death occurs is doing away with some basic considerations that are necessary for any sort of moral evaluation of that death.

I’ve noticed this process again and again on the left, and I’ve wondered about its origins. Is it sheer sophistry, something even the writer doesn’t believe but which he/she considers an effective rhetorical ploy? That may be true in some cases, but I tend to doubt it accounts for many.

Is it a lack of ability to make such distinctions, a failure of logic? Perhaps, at times. But again, I don’t think that’s what’s operating in most cases.

I believe its origins lie in a process I’ve discussed previously in this post: the need some people have to preserve their own moral superiority in an absolutist sense, the desire to keep their own hands clean. Of course, this can only be done if others are willing to get their hands dirty (bloodstained, that is) in order to protect these people’s right to keep theirs pristine and unstained. But in this country, fortunately, that’s still possible.

Belmont Club touched on this theme in his post on the dreadful murder of pacifist Tom Fox in Iraq. And it’s also implicit and explicit in my pacifism series, which describes some of the potential dreadful consequences of absolute pacifism.

In that series, I’ve also described the deep divisions within the Quaker community on just how far pacifism goes, or should go. I was surprised by the fact that even among Quakers, renowned for the depth of their devotion to that cause, there are many who argue for a pacifism that is more–well, more “nuanced.” The views of one of the founders of the Quaker religion, George Fox, were as follows:

Fox was not a pacifist in the modern sense that he utterly rejected participating in all wars and violent conflicts. He couldn’t imagine himself bearing the sword, at least under {his} present circumstances… but he also recognized that someone must wield the sword against evil-doers.”

Ingle goes on to say, “Fox would not condone violence except ‘in the cause of justice’… ‘in a war with the devil and his works’… ‘for a righteous cause’… or for ‘keeping the peace and protecting people’s estates’ (i.e. not their property but their condition), and Ingle continues that Fox would ‘never deny the right of a nation’s rulers to wield weapons in defense of a just cause. The problem was in defining such a cause.’ Thus the dilemma.

For those pacifists (and leftists or liberals) who do accept that someone must wield the sword against evil-doers, the dilemma becomes how to define an evildoer. And if the government of the US (especially any Republican government) is reflexively defined by some as “evildoers,” why then, those particular pacifists and/or leftists cannot support its wielding the sword, and the distinction between war and war crimes becomes obliterated: war by the US is defined as a crime, unless it is in response to something as unequivocal as a wholesale invasion by an enemy military force (something unlikely to happen).

The civil war (and it is a rather civil one) among pacifists is mirrored by this civil war among leftists. Marc Cooper and Norm Geras are among those who hold up one end; commenter J Cummings represents another. Here‘s a portion of Marc’s response to Cummings:

[Bush's] ill-fated war in Iraq was — whether we like it or not– waged with overwhelming congressional approval. Sad but true. Thousands have died in Iraq… I would say for the most part with not much of a good reason. It’s the sort of war that should cost a sitting president’s party their hold on the White House and should be a teaching moment about the limits and pretensions of imperial power. Iraq, however, is not a genocide and it as much or not a war crime as most any war is.

Milosevic was but a thinly disguised Nazi; he blatantly expoited ethnic and religious differences to whip up a murderous nationalism. His militias, death squads and soldiers had a policy of blatant massacre. The butchery at Sbrenjica and the Siege of Sarajevo are horrific, blood curdling crimes.

What’s amazing is the self-hatred that you display as an American. If U.S. military policy were the same as Milosevic’s then you would be committing a war crime by not taking up arms against the Bush regime. You have rendered yourself incapable of distinguishing among liberals, conservatives and beligerant fascists.

Clearly Cooper doesn’t agree with those of us who supported the Iraq war, either on whether it should have been started in the first place, or whether it’s time to declare it failed. But he expresses himself well, and the last paragraph, in particular, rings with a sort of righteous rage at how the left has been co-opted by voices such as Cummings’s instead of those such as Cooper’s own. The former have come close to drowning out the latter, which is a sad and troubling development. Cooper and Geras have been fighting this fight for some time, and though they seem to be losing the battle at the moment (at least, to my eyes), I hope they win the war.

Here is Cooper approximately a month after 9/11, in an article of his that appeared in the LA Times:

The end result of this psycho-political micro-climate are two generations of American leftists who lack the political sensibility and even the simple emotional language that would allow them to see their own fellow citizens, even transitorily, as victims rather than victimizers, that would allow them to distinguish between a CIA coup abroad and the butchering of thousands of innocent American civilians at home…

It’s one thing to argue that Americans are naive and perhaps arrogant to have believed in a historic exceptionalism that could immunize them against pain and bloodshed on their own soil. It’s quite another to suggest, as I repeatedly heard during that peace rally, that America somehow invited last month’s massacre. Morally repugnant and politically unviable, this sort of demagogy can only render the left irrelevant….

These difficult times require the active and effective presence of a clearer-thinking left, one that can offer unique and salutary perspectives to counter a war-empowered, conservative Bush administration.

It must begin with an unequivocal acknowledgement that the perpetrators of Sept. 11 are in no way the avengers of some oppressed constituency. They were atavistic, religious fascists whose world view is diametrically opposed to all humanitarian and progressive morality.

And the left must recognize that these forces cannot be neutralized by nonviolent moral suasion or international law alone.

Cooper goes on to advocate some positions with which I disagree. But that’s not the point. The point is that the left is not unitary, nor are pacifists, and both have some voices of reason who can make important moral distinctions. But their voices seem increasingly to be lost in the din of shriller voices, screaming in a sort of Orwellian–yes, Orwellian–rage that the US is the font of most of the evil in this world.

34 Responses to “The civil civil war on the left”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    It is true that they themselves won’t change the world. But you have to realize that they aren’t the only part of the alliance here. If you look at pre WWII Germany, and the brown coats. Socialism is a very good way of introducing a far more authoritarian system, which people like Mussolini and Hitler will take advantage of.

    So, no, socialists by themselves will convince no one, even if they have convinced themselves. Socialists backed by fascists, however, is a different proposition. Just because the Islamic fascists will purge the socialists after gaining power, is not something the socialists want to know about.

    The socialists believe in speaking Truth to Power. They believe that the psychological component of an ideological fight is supreme. However, Hitler understood that intimidation through death squads was just as psychologically effective, if not more so, than simple slogans and gangs of youth.

    It is one of the reasons why the ACLU is allied with CAIR.

    So long as the far Left, the Left, and the Left Left Left believe speaking Truth to Power means whatever you can define “Truth” as (Dan Rather), then I tend to think that yes, they do believe whatever slogans they come up with is the truth and therefore is powerful.

    You should see how upset the media got when they realized Cheney gave the scoop to a local news organization instead of phoning the white house press corps. They don’t like being deprived of the “Truth” which means Power to them.

  2. SB Says:

    Maybe it’s just a matter of not understanding their audience, then. Some geek holding a sign that says “Bush Lied/People Died” is not convincing, except maybe to other geeks. Does anyone actually see something like that and think “Damn, that geek must be right – look how passionate he is!”

    All I can say is, if these people really want to change the world, they’re going about it the wrong way.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    But from their perspective, they are convincing you to vote their way. I mean, for every person that believes Bush lied about WMDs or that, this, or the other, is seen by Democrats as scoring points. In the polls. Which are important to them, more so than any other party.

    Like Goldeberg said at the end in 1984, if he can make you believe 4 fingers are 1, and if he can make everyone believe he can fly, then it is as good if not better than the real thing.

    When they say speaking truth to power, they believe that information can manipulate the power that a voter holds.

    In some cases, they are right. Psychological power is 3 to 1, in comparison to hard physical power. But they are also symbiotic and you can’t remove them from the other. Which is why it is hard to get votes, if you have no food to offer, regardless of how many people you can convince that you have food to offer.

    Convincing people is only half the battle. You still have to make sure it isn’t a bait and switch.

  4. SB Says:

    It sounds like a closed system. They aren’t trying to convince the uncommitted to vote their way – they’re just trying to get the already-committed to send more money. That would explain their tolerance for behavior and statements which seem almost calculated to alienate the average vote.

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    One of the reasons Republicans repudiate isolationists and crypto-conservatives as well as paleo-conservatives is because the Republican party gets most of their campaign donations through private individuals, spaced out through all social tiers and areas.

    The Democrats, on the other hand, have a lot of soft-money donations from unions, George Soros billionares, and Big Businesses that use their money to get the government to legislate barriers to small business competition.

    That’s why the Republicans can afford to repudate crazy people. Whatever money we lose is neglible to the benefit. For the Democrats, kicking Soros out would be like cutting their wrists open.

    Human behavior is easily predictable based upon risk and reward analysis. If a person thinks he will gain more than he loses, then he will do it. If he percieves more loss than gain, he won’t do it. It is that simple. Money is just part of the primary value indicator, it is not the source of human woes.

  6. SB Says:

    Steve:

    Maybe it depends on which dictionary you use. American Heritage online says, among other things:

    bigot
    n.
    One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

    I guess it doesn’t matter, though, since traditionally, only conservatives can be bigots.

    We definitely need some new political terminology to describe ourselves and each other. Or maybe just some new political parties.

    Why can’t the hard leftists just call themselves Socialists or Social Democrats and run their own candidate? Why should the Democrat party be saddled with them? Same goes for the Republicans and the religious nuts. Let Pat Robertson and his ilk take another stab at the presidency on their own rather than tainting the Republican party with their creepiness. But I guess it’s like ymasakar said – it’s all about those campaign contributions.

    Is it really the nutballs – left and right – who contribute the most cash? And is no one in either party willing to say “Sorry, your group’s agenda is inconsistent with the core values of our party so we can’t accept your donation?”

    OK, I know – politicians turning down money, stupid idea. Stop giggling.

    The problem at the moment isn’t the moderate Democrats – even the ones who oppose the war. Rather, it’s the freaks they associate with and take money from (including the MSM, jg, and the denizens of Hollywood) who will gain enormous social and political capital from a Democrat victory. Anybody want to see a smug Cindy Sheehan having her photo-op in the Oval Office in ’08? Not me…

  7. jg Says:

    One point missing in this interesting thread is the role of the MSM. We know how well they thought they had their thumb on the scales during the 2004 election. They have waged a relentless propaganda war to sandbag the 2d Bush Presidency.

    So, what candidate(s) will THEY back is the real question. What do THEY want from a party? And who will give it to them? The far Left nature of the candidate may not be a hindrance. Remember my dog is certainly more rational than Cindy Sheehan, yet the MSM formed her into an acceptable international figure.
    The playing field in American politics today has an MSM set of referees.

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    Concerning Leftist and Democratic politics, I tend to think that the inertial of social programs, Union deadlocks and monopoly on political power, and various other things hold the Left in stasis. Both the Left, the Left Left, and the Left Left Right.

    The Democratic party may have its factions, as all parties have in politics, but there is no real possibility of a victory if the balance of powers is not on the side of rationality. If, for example, all the money comes from irrational actors with their own agenda, disparate from people like Cooper.

    Our system is designed for the party encompassing the most views people agree with, to win. For the Democrats to make any large gains, requires that the Democrats shut off Union money and controls like DU and Howard Dean fund raising. But to do that in the logistics sense, means cutting their throats politically. So I don’t see a solution in this Catch 22 situation.

    Either they stay as they are and lose, preveting the Coopers from doing a coup on them. Or they change fundraising, and they lose, preventing the Coopers from doing anything.

  9. Rafique Tucker Says:

    Marc Cooper is certainly is one of the leading lights of the civil side of those opposed to Iraq. I’m a center-Left Dem hawk, so I’m also committed to seeing voices like Cooper’s prevail over the likes of Michael Moore and crew.

    I think things are more hopeful than many realize. As its been said, the Left (and pacifism) is not a monolithic group.

  10. Meade Says:

    a humorous take on a problem Democrats face.

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    It does make sense that those who think about Orwell all the time are themselves the most capable beings in the world at applying Orwell’s painstakingly thought out methods of manipulation. Those who don’t mention Orwell, don’t think about Orwell, and don’t understand Orwell’s works, would simply say what they see as truth and that would be it.

    The views of one of the founders of the Quaker religion, George Fox, were as follows:

    Tom Fox, George Fox, a coincidence?

    How many people has bush killed? Where are you getting your numbers J. Cummings?

    Bush seemed to have been holding out on us. If we knew he had death squads at the ready to silence the opposition, we might be getting somewhere.

    Is Bush compassionate conservative or what, given that he hasn’t unleashed them yet upon his critics?

    Why else would the funerals of Paul Wellstone and Coetta Scott-King resemble “ten minutes hate”?

    I think this connects in some ways to Sultan post. In that, Sultan has harnessed her willpower and used it to convert fear into determination, creativity, and construction. But you can train someone to harness their willpower and turn it into something else, hate for example. In time, the hate will corrode their willpower and will consume them. But until then, and during the conversion process, you can get a lot of bang for your bucks. You get a lot of motivated people willing to think and do anything you want. Convert fear to hate. Convert anger to hate, convert dissatisfaction to hate. Almost any emotion you can use to convert to hate and consume a person’s will, including love.

    Chemicals addict your body, but hate addicts your entire soul. Very effective.

    Goesh, he is obviously a CIA agent.

  12. Goesh Says:

    I would suggest the ideological dilemmas facing the Left of today are much harsher than ours on the Right and threaten their cohesion significantly more than ours. Take the following post from a muslim, Egyptian blogger:

    ” What??! ACLU Board!…….Florida!…..CAIR!…..How?!

    That was my reaction when I read that the chairman of CAIR was elected to the Florida board of the …………hold your horses…………..ACLU. (H/t The Sandmonkey)

    Can someone please tell me how can both organizations sleep in the same bed? An anti-CAIR Muslim American once told me that CAIR members are obvious sympathizers with the worldwide movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. A number of their members were MB in their native countries before emigrating to the US.

    Is ACLU sympathizing with the MB now?? I mean, the MB are anti-gay, anti-total freedom of speech, anti-women rights that are based on western principles, and the list goes on..Or is the ACLU just hypocrites?

    I am not passing judgments here, I’m just asking an innocent question.”

    http://bigpharaoh.blogspot.com/

    Ain’t that something? I really don’t see much hand wringing coming from most readers of this Blog over this Post. As a Leftist, I would be troubled because reasonable, moderate, peaceful Muslims are only supposed to be speaking out against violence, not attacking my sacred cows. I would have to seriously pretend this guy is really not a muslim from Egypt.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    I have a little trick I use on somebody who’s posting/ranting about “Orwellian” this and that.

    I post a comment in Oceanian Newspeak (or at least as close as I can fake it) and see if he/she/it answers. Or even understands it.

    None of these guys screaming “ORWELLIAN! ORWELLIAN! ORWELLIAN!” has yet.

    If you’re going to liken everything to 1984 and whoever you don’t like to “Orwellian”, THE LEAST YOU CAN DO IS RTFM!

  14. Goesh Says:

    As much hell as Milo gave the muslims it wouldn’t keep him from a firing squad in my books for willfully killing women and children. The Serbs were great allies against the Germans in WW2 – they rescued and hid downed fliers and Serb partisans tied up a number of top-notch German divisions that otherwise could have been deployed against Russia or the US & Allies on the other front. I recall the number of divisions being 7, but don’t quote me on that. Some speculate it made a critical difference keeping these Germans off the main fronts. I know an 87 yr old Bulgarian partisan who fought in Kosovo against the nazis. He was a Commander and started out with 153 men and ended up with 23 at the end of the war. It was no quarter given and none asked he said and that’s the way it should be when men face each other in combat. This is a far cry from turning loose killing squads on muslim peasant women and children. It’s good riddance of Milo – may his body be thrown to the hogs.

  15. Steve Says:

    It’s funny, I just looked up the word “bigot” – doesn’t really mean what I always thought it meant, i.e., a synonym for “prejudiced person.”

  16. SB Says:

    gcotharn:

    I think the term for people who think other people are evil because of their political or regional affiliations is “bigot.”

    But try using it on the open-minded and nuanced thinker and see how far you get…

    .

  17. armchair pessimist Says:

    With regards to our Islamofacist friends, I think that in retrospect Slobo was the last pitbull in Europe. So we geniuses put him down. And, no, I am not Serbian.

  18. Goesh Says:

    These Leftist voices are marginal at best, slowly imploding. People like Dr. Sultan really throw a monkey wrench into their cauldron and what splashes out cannot be deflected, but lands scalding on their faces. From another angle, the rejection of UAE managaing our ports was another slap in their face and disruption of unity. Gee! Was this really islamophobia or prudent, non-violent self protection at play here, the way it should be, or just more American ignorance? Such intellectual dilemmas require lots of sophistry and narcissm you know. They spin and rationalize and agonize and moralize and intellectualize and pontificate on and on and on while the rest of us get on with our lives. Did I mention the dilemma of the prophet cartoons the poor bastards of the Left have had to endure?

    I disagree that rejecting the Left pushes the rest of us into a religious and intolerant camp. From the Left’s view, we have never been out of the intolerant camp from the get-go.

    Regarding Milosovich and the Serbs, the classic Leftist mentaltiy manifested strongly from the start. The first attempt at dealing with the ‘evil’ was to cozy up to the Kosvo Liberation Army – you know, local liberators that could be turned into folk heros like Che and resolve the matter in an almost Marxian way. But then Interpol and others began to point out the KLA’s true nature of being gun and heroin runners with serious connections to some very lethal, contract killers in Chechyna, so that faded and a clean air war became necessary. Some of us noted the lack of protest from the Left over serb civilian deaths. It seems a number of expensive, precision bombs went astray, like when that civilian train was taken out on a bridge and a convoy of farm wagons loaded with peasants fleeing the area was decimated. High altitude attacks prompted by the presence of Russian SAMs was deemed an unfortunate necessity by the Left, hence so many dead serb peasants. Lo and behold, the air campaign was deemed a success but the Serb army pulls out of Kosovo intact and the ideological cauldron is stirred a bit and ready to splash out on them. It’s not looking quite so nice but then Milo gets handed over to the ultimate authority on the planet for trial and the Left has an ideological victory orgasm. End of story, except now the son-of-a-bitch up and dies and the Left never gets to truly show the world that he was guilty of all his sins and crimes. We of course know he was guilty but the Left can’t prove it – just like they can’t prove if it was really islam or male hetrosexual bigotry or a combination of both that recently and openly hung two Iranian teens for being homosexual. My! but they have dilemmas and cause for dissent in the ranks don’t they? Anyway, this is the end of this saga for all practical purposes, except most Americans never knew who Milosovich was to begin with. This is the piece of genuine reality we are left, these many folks who never hear of Milo, and recent history shows that we on the Right better meet their needs and wants than the Left, hands down.

  19. Robert Schwartz Says:

    “I’ve noticed this process again and again on the left, and I’ve wondered about its origins.”

    The source of the left’s tropes is discussed at length by Eric Raymond in his post Gramscian Damage. Excerpt:

    By contrast, ideological and memetic warfare has been a favored tactic for all of America’s three great adversaries of the last hundred years — Nazis, Communists, and Islamists. All three put substantial effort into cultivating American proxies to influence U.S. domestic policy and foreign policy in favorable directions. Yes, the Nazis did this, through organizations like the “German-American Bund” that was outlawed when World War II went hot. Today, the Islamists are having some success at manipulating our politics through fairly transparent front organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    But it was the Soviet Union, in its day, that was the master of this game. They made dezinformatsiya (disinformation) a central weapon of their war against “the main adversary”, the U.S. They conducted memetic subversion against the U.S. on many levels at a scale that is only now becoming clear as historians burrow through their archives and ex-KGB officers sell their memoirs.

    The Soviets had an entire “active measures” department devoted to churning out anti-American dezinformatsiya. A classic example is the rumor that AIDS was the result of research aimed at building a ‘race bomb’ that would selectively kill black people.

    ==============

    RTWT!

  20. Steve Says:

    Neo: Thanks for the cross references. I think my definition and your self-definition coincide.

    Of course I am aware of the Jewish back story to the term, and Boot’s article, which is rather confusing, tends to complicate matters, citing Commentary as the “neocon Bible” and “support for Israel” as a “key tenet,” neither of which seem either obvious or necessary, at least to me.

    I would propose that, nowadays, neocon is closer to your definition, and, even more narrowly, has to do with something very specific, namely, how do we manage change in the Muslim world to protect ourselves, and even more narrowly support for the current war in Iraq and support for forthcoming wars in Iran and Syria.

  21. Harry Mallory Says:

    um, and INGSOC, not INSOC.

    I give up.

  22. Harry Mallory Says:

    um, Coretta, that is…

  23. Harry Mallory Says:

    I find continued references by liberals to conservative motives as being “Orwellian” to be double-plus ungood.

    Nothing approaches INSOC orthodoxy like liberal “hate-speach” codes and “hate-crime” laws, among the many other politically correct tethers they would place on us.

    Why else would the funerals of Paul Wellstone and Coetta Scott-King resemble “ten minutes hate”?

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve at 4:04: I explained about the definition of neocons here.

  25. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    I continue to believe, in spite of the statements coming from Democratic politicians and the major left-wing periodicals, that there is a core of sensible Democrats. For reasons of style, or personal pathology, or inertia, or identification, they are currently swept along with the mindlessness that worries we are about to descend into theocratic fascism.

    I wish that were not so, and it causes me unease about their eventual recovery, but I still hope for it.

  26. Mike Says:

    How many people has bush killed? Where are you getting your numbers J. Cummings?

  27. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Kipling, in his “Kim” has a retired officer of Indian cavalry talking to a Buddhist monk.
    I believe the officer’s comment to the monk’s reproach to his career of fighting went like, “War is an ill think, as I surely know. But ‘twould be an ill world for weaponless dreamers if evil men were not now and then slain.”

    It appears that the left’s defense of Slobo is, like Graham Greene’s statement, a kind of helpless reversal.
    “I do not like the Soviet Union,” said Greene, “but the enemy of my enemy is my friend and my enemy is Ronald Reagan.”

    It must be frustrating to find oneself stuck to the butthead of the month as a reflex against which one is completely helpless, solely because the butthead of the month happens to be America’s enemy.
    Well, some people have a deficient sense of smell and a highly controlled gag reflex.
    Anyway, once I figured this out, I quit extending myself to responding to the lefties’ strained arguments. They don’t apply, but I would guess some of the less deformed souls wish they did. Kind of an excuse to oneself.

    William Buckley said the left looks at a guy who pushes an old woman out of the path of a bus and a guy who pushes and old woman into the path of a bus and claims they’re identical acts because both involved pushing.

  28. rickl Says:

    anonymous 7:32:

    There’s a funny thing about the Copperheads. I once posted a comment about this on Dr. Sanity’s blog. The Civil War Copperheads wore pennies on their lapels as their symbol in order to protest President Lincoln’s war policies. At that time the penny bore an image of an Indian head. If today’s Copperheads were to do the same thing, they would be wearing President Lincoln’s image.

  29. rickl Says:

    Steve:

    And I don’t see the left domination in universities having any traction whatsoever: just look at the political landscape, totally dominated by Republicans and moderates.

    But it’s not just leftist domination of the universities. I believe the left rules the educational system all the way down to grade school and kindergarten. Republicans (not conservatives or libertarians) might dominate today, but the next generation may well be a different story. That makes me very anxious about the future, and the survival of freedom in America.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s a possibility. I’ve seen the term used on some blogs.

    http://www.civilwarhome.com/copperheads.htm

    .

  31. Steve Says:

    Excellent post, neo. I loved this remark left by Cooper in response to some of his post’s comments: “I often ask myself what some folks would do wiith their time if there was no U.S. They’d have to invent one.”

  32. gcotharn Says:

    “SB” has a point. We need a more accurate shorthand term to describe people who blame America for the ills of the world. Some persons on the left surely do not fall victim to this type of thinking. I sometimes shorthand “leftist”, when I really mean “America blamer”. I am not being as exact as maybe I ought to be.

    Similarly, I sometimes shorthand “leftist”, when I really mean “persons who believe conservatives are evil persons with nefarious motives.” I use the same “leftist” to describe “persons who believe Christians are evil persons with nefarious motives”, and also “persons who believe people in the American south, or in middle America, are evil persons with nefarious motives.” I can do better. But it would be inefficient to type entire long phrases of description.

  33. SB Says:

    Problem is, everybody seems to be connected now. How can one agree with intelligent, principled opponents of the war in Iraq – or even listen to them – when doing so would seem to validate the positions and beliefs of someone like Cindy Sheehan or Michael Moore? Things would be much easier for the rest of us if the Dems would repudiate the Marxist wing of the party just as most Republicans repudiate Pat Robertson and the KKK. We – that is, all of us citizens – need serious leaders with realistic ideas, not washed-up 68-ers and circus freaks.

  34. Steve Says:

    I think “the left” as you characterize it is largely irrelevant. I mean, I realize that conservatives fulminate against it on a daily basis and David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, and others, write about it constantly, but they really have no influence in terms of “blaming America first.” And I don’t see the left domination in universities having any traction whatsoever: just look at the political landscape, totally dominated by Republicans and moderates.

    I have however been surprised from time to time at the zealous defense of Slobo and the Serbian position generally that I have found around the web. Not to be dismissive, I think this is just generally a reflection of the fact that we have a number of Americans of Serb background who are very articulate and persistent in getting their message across.

    Unity on the left? No, not when “left” is defined as “anyone who thinks differently than the current administration and the plurality of voters who re-elected it.” But on the other hand, the left hasn’t offered any meaningful foreign policy alternatives, yet.

    I think the danger of dismissing the leftoid elements of our polity is that it tends to push the rest of us into the embrace of a religious, and generally socially intolerant, majority. Insofar as the left has been a leader in individual rights issues, as well as “social justice” issues, the marginalization of the left would not be a good idea.

    This raises a typology issue. I am not sure that “neo-conservatives” are really conservative in the Rush Limbaugh (or worse) social conservative manner. I think they are mostly social liberals with a hawkish foreign policy.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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