At the time of this writing, 129 people are known to have been killed today, Friday November 13, 2015, in co-ordinated terrorist attacks in France. [Update Sunday 11/15/2015: 132 killed.]
The attacks by IS/ISIS/ISIL on six crowded public places in Paris must have taken a lot of organizing. There must have been a few hundred operatives involved in the plot and an immense amount of “chatter” about it on cell phones and the social media for weeks and probably months beforehand. And yet the French police caught not a whiff of it? Not a whisper on the wind?
The attacks are an intelligence failure of monstrous proportions. Or was there monstrous corruption? Always a possibility.
ISIS – the Islamic State – is of course primarily responsible for the deaths, injuries, and terror. But the French government – which like the German government, the Swedish government and all the other European governments have let in and are letting in millions of Muslims – must be held responsible for preparing the conditions that ISIS takes advantage of to spread its savage war.
There will certainly be more such attacks in Europe.
And in America?
Shortly before the hour when the attacks in Paris began, President Obama ridiculously declared that ISIS was “contained”.
He also continues to maintain that the Islamic State “has nothing to do with Islam”. So clearly, in the blind and stupid stakes, Obama keeps up with the front runners.
However, according to Judicial Watch, “the FBI has nearly 1000 active ISIS probes inside the US”. If that is so, they are doing a lot better than the French police.
ISIS will act in America. It is just possible that they will find it more difficult than in Europe. But not very difficult. Not when Obama is importing tens of thousands of Muslim “refugees” from the Middle East, unvetted and unvettable. And not when any terrorist can cross the southern border illegally, be met by a bus, and be driven to a welcome center where he can start collecting cash and goods.
And getting busy on his cellphone to organize the murder of Americans.
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, blames the victims for the stabbing attacks on Israelis by Palestinians.
No surprise there.
Here’s another opinion:
It is painful to hear the phrase “lone wolves” applied to the handful – and perhaps tomorrow the dozens and then the hundreds – of killers of Jews “liked” by thousands of “friends”, followed by tens of thousands of “Tweets,” and connected to a constellation of sites (such as the Al-Aqsa Media Center and its page dedicated to “the third Jerusalem intifada”) that are orchestrating, at least in part, this bloody ballet.
So writes the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy (translated by Steven B. Kennedy).
It is equally painful to listen to the refrain about “Palestinian youth no longer subject to any control” after seeing the series of sermons opportunistically placed online by the Middle East Media Research Institute, in which preachers from Gaza, facing the camera, dagger in hand, call upon followers to take to the streets to maim as many Jews as they can, to inflict as much pain as possible, and to spill the maximum amount of blood; doubly painful to hear that refrain having heard Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself, at the outset of this tragic chain of events a few weeks back, describing as “heroic” the murder of the Henkins in the presence of their children and then expressing indignation at seeing the “dirty feet” of Jews “defiling” the “Esplanade of the Mosques”, and, in the same statement, declaring “pure” “each drop of blood” shed by “each martyr” who dies for Jerusalem.
Not only painful and intolerable, but also inapplicable, is the canned phrase about “political and social desperation” that is mouthed to explain – or excuse – criminal acts, when everything we know about the new terrorists, their motives and the pride their relatives take in converting, post-mortem, crime into martyrdom and infamy into sacrifice, is, alas, much closer to the portrait of the robotic jihadist who yesterday would take off for Kashmir and today turns up in Syria or Iraq.
It is highly doubtful that “intifada” is the right term to apply to acts that bear more resemblance to the latest installment of a worldwide jihad of which Israel is just one of the stages.
Doubtful that erudite disquisitions on occupation, colonization and Netanyahu-esque intransigence still explain much about a wave of violence that counts among its favored targets Jews with sidelocks – that is, those Jews who are the most conspicuously Jewish, those whom their killers must consider, I imagine, as the very image of the Jew and who, by the way, are often at odds with the Jewish state when not in open secession from it.
Doubtful that the very question of the state, the question of the two states, and thus the question of a negotiated partition of the land – which is, for moderates on both sides, the only question worth posing – has anything at all to do with a conflagration in which politics has given way to fanaticism and to theories of vast conspiracy, one in which some decide to stab random others as they pass by because of a vague rumor reporting a secret [and utterly false -ed] plot to deny Muslims access to Islam’s third-most-holy site.
We do not agree that there should be yet another Arab state. 80% of “Palestine”, as the territory was called under the British mandate, was given by the British, in defiance of their own Balfour Declaration, to one of their Hashemite allies, to establish the Emirate of Transjordan (later the Kingdom of Jordan). So there is already an Arab state of Palestine. All Palestinian Arabs ought to be able to become citizens of it without question. The rest of the territory, from the Jordan to the Med, should be one state, the State of Israel. It is on King Andullah of Jordan that the pressure of the geat powers should be brought to solve the “Palestinian problem”.
But we do agree that the “bloody ballet” is jihad, not an expression of Palestinian “frustration”, as John Kerry has claimed.
Doubtful, in other words, that the Palestinian cause is being helped in any way by the extremist turn. On the other hand, it is absolutely certain that the cause has everything to lose by it, that the reasonable heads within the movement will be the ones who wind up flattened by the wave, and that the last proponents of compromise, along with what remains of the peace camp in Israel, will pay dearly for the reckless condemnations of the imams of Rafah and Khan Younis.
Intolerable and inapplicable, too, is the cliché of the “cycle” or “spiral” of violence, which, by putting the kamikaze killers and their victims on the same footing, sows confusion and amounts to an incitement to further action.
Intolerable, for the same reason, are the rhetorical appeals “for restraint” and disingenuous pleas “not to inflame the street”, which, as with the “spiral of violence”, reverse the order of causality by implying that a soldier, police officer, or civilian acting in self-defense has committed a wrong equal to that of someone who chooses to die after spreading as much terror as he possibly can.
Strange indeed, the tepid condemnations of the stabbings of innocent passers-by, the rammings of bus stops, condemnations that I have to think would be less half-hearted if the acts had occurred on the streets of Washington, Paris, or London.
More than strange – disturbing – is the difference in tone between the equivocal reaction to the recent killings and the unanimous and unambiguous international outpouring of emotion and solidarity elicited by the fatal hatchet attack on a soldier on a London street on May 22, 2013, a scenario that was not very different from those unfolding today in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Intolerable, again, that most of the major media have paid the grieving Israeli families only a fraction of the attention they have paid the families of the perpetrators.
Intolerable, finally, the minor mythology growing up around this story of daggers: The weapon of the poor? Really? The weapon one uses because it is within reach and one has no other? When I see those blades I think of the one used to execute Daniel Pearl; I think of the beheadings of Hervé Gourdel, James Foley and David Haines; I think that the Islamic State’s videos have clearly gained a following and that we stand on the threshold of a form of barbarity that must be unconditionally denounced if we do not want to see its methods exported everywhere.
And I mean everywhere.
Those Americans (of various political persuasions) who say it is not necessary for the US to have a strong military for any reason except defense of the homeland and then only if it is actually attacked; who say that the US should not be the “policeman of the world”; who say (as Donald Trump does) “let the Russians fight ISIS”; who say “let the Muslims kill each other, it’s of no concern to us”; who say the only business we should have with other countries is trade; who say they share President Obama’s opinion that America is not better than any other nation and that no country should dominate any other – watch what will happen now as their ideal becomes reality and Obama’s doctrine is put into practice:
J. E. Dyer, who has had many years’ professional experience of defense issues and has thought long and hard about these matters, writes at Liberty Unyielding:
U.S. and Russian officials are still discussing how to share the combat space in Syria. But all things military are ultimately decided by political leverage. I assure you, it is impossible for U.S. forces to maintain a posture of “making things crystal clear to the Russians”, if there is no political respect for the Obama administration itself on the Russian side.
The lack of respect will be for a reason – and it will be for the same reason that American forces won’t be able to hold any line in Syria. They won’t have reliable back-up from the White House. Time will quickly erode the U.S. military position on how to share the battle space, and Russia will simply dictate the conditions in which our forces operate.
I doubt we can really conceive how fast things are going to move from this point on. Reports continue to flood in that Iran is deploying troops in large numbers to Syria, and that Russia and Iran will mount a major ground offensive there soon. For the military task at hand, their weapons and skills are not as good as ours, but they will fight ruthlessly and without compunction, which we have not done at any time in the last 25 years. Where we have fought delicately, to “encourage” a new status quo that could last without us, Russia and Iran will fight brutally to hold territory they mean to stay on, in one form or another.
I don’t think even geopolitics specialists really appreciate how dangerous a precipice we stand on.
There is no assumption of our current order that is not up for grabs now. We haven’t seen a situation like this for many hundreds of years.
Things you think can’t possibly come up for rearrangement – how the Suez Canal operates; who if anyone keeps it safe to navigate the waters of the Mediterranean; how freely air traffic moves between Europe and Asia; whether the Strait of Malacca is open to everyone; whether military outposts targeting the United States proliferate in the Americas – all these things are in the realm of the “thinkable” now.
The protection of the United States has been lifted from the world.
On what else will the nations cease giving ear to anything the Obama administration says? We’re going to find out.
Russia has brought fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft batteries to Syria. He has put military “boots on the ground” there too. The aerial bombing and ground fighting have started. Command centers have been established. Russia is there to stay.
An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily deplores the fact that Russia is now the dominant great power in the Middle East.
And it is a fact. Obama has handed the region to Putin as on a golden platter.
And what’s worse, with Russia comes China and Iran. We can’t see Putin sharing power with any other country for very long. But right now, the Vast Nasty Country Conspiracy is in full operation. (See here, here, and here.)
Moscow won’t just be destroying IS; it will be replacing us as dominant power in the Mideast, where the oil the free world needs is. And Putin won’t be alone.
According to Russian Sen. Igor Morozov, who sits on Russia’s international affairs committee, Chinese forces are joining Russia against IS. “China has joined our military operation in Syria,” Morozov said in Pravda. “A Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, and an aircraft carrier follows it.”
With Iranian Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani believed to have met with Russian officials this month, the “genuinely broad” coalition against terrorism in which “Muslim countries are to play a key role” may end up as Russia, China and Iran.
Meanwhile, London’s Daily Express reports on German reporter and author Jurgen Todenhofer’s book, “Inside IS — Ten Days in the Islamic State.”
In it, he warns that the free world “is drastically underestimating the power of ISIS’, which “intends to get its hands on nuclear weapons”, then undertake “the largest religious cleansing in history”. Years ago, all these would have seemed laughable predictions. But Obama’s new world of American decline is full of such terrifying surprises.
Charles Krauthammer thinks, as we do, that Putin has little interest in defeating the Islamic State.
He writes, also at IBD:
If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated. President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin.
Two days earlier at the United Nations, Obama had welcomed the return, in force, of the Russian military to the Middle East — for the first time in decades — in order to help fight the Islamic State.
The ruse was transparent from the beginning. Russia is not in Syria to fight the Islamic State. The Kremlin was sending fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and SA-22 anti-aircraft batteries. Against an Islamic State that has no air force, no planes, no helicopters?
Russia then sent reconnaissance drones over Western Idlib and Hama, where there are no Islamic State fighters. Followed by bombing attacks on Homs and other opposition strongholds that had nothing to do with the Islamic State.
Indeed, some of these bombed fighters were U.S. trained and equipped.
Asked if we didn’t have an obligation to support our allies on the ground, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter bumbled that Russia’s actions exposed its policy as self-contradictory.
Carter made it sound as if the Russian offense was to have perpetrated an oxymoron, rather than a provocation — and a direct challenge to what’s left of the U.S. policy of supporting a moderate opposition.
The whole point of Russian intervention is to maintain Assad in power. Putin has no interest in fighting the Islamic State.
Indeed, the second round of Russian air attacks was on rival insurgents opposed to the Islamic State. The Islamic State is nothing but a pretense for Russian intervention. …
Just three weeks ago, Obama chided Russia for its military buildup, wagging his finger that it was “doomed to failure”. Yet by Monday he was publicly welcoming Russia to join the fight against the Islamic State.
He not only acquiesced to the Russian buildup, he held an ostentatious meeting with Putin on the subject, thereby marking the ignominious collapse of Obama’s vaunted campaign to isolate Putin diplomatically over Crimea.
Putin then showed his utter contempt for Obama by launching his air campaign against our erstwhile anti-Assad allies not 48 hours after meeting Obama.
Which the U.S. found out about when a Russian general knocked on the door of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and delivered a brusque demarche announcing that the attack would begin within an hour and warning the U.S. to get out of the way.
In his subsequent news conference, Secretary Carter averred that he found such Russian behavior “unprofessional.”
Good grief. Russia, with its inferior military and hemorrhaging economy, had just eaten Carter’s lunch, seizing the initiative and exposing American powerlessness — and the secretary of defense deplores what? Russia’s lack of professional etiquette.
Makes you want to weep.
Consider: When Obama became president, the surge in Iraq had succeeded and the U.S. had emerged as the dominant regional actor, able to project power throughout the region.
Last Sunday, Iraq announced the establishment of a joint intelligence-gathering center with Iran, Syria and Russia, symbolizing the new “Shiite-crescent” alliance from Iran across the northern Middle East to the Mediterranean, under the umbrella of Russia, the rising regional hegemon.
Russian planes roam free over Syria attacking Assad’s opposition as we stand by helpless. Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state beseeches the Russians to negotiate “de-conflict” arrangements — so that we and they can each bomb our own targets safely. It has come to this.
Why is Putin moving so quickly and so brazenly? Because he’s got only 16 more months to push on the open door that is Obama.
He knows he’ll never again see an American president such as this — one who once told the General Assembly that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” and told it again last Monday of “believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion.”
They cannot? Has he looked at the world around him — from Homs to Kunduz, from Sanaa to Donetsk — ablaze with conflict and coercion?
Wouldn’t you take advantage of these last 16 months if you were Putin, facing a man living in a faculty-lounge fantasy world?
Where was Obama when Putin began bombing Syria? Leading a U.N. meeting on countering violent extremism.
Go on, weep.
That’s what we’re doing, figuratively at least.
For the last act of its long Christian history, Europe, true to the Christian ideal of martyrdom, passionately cries out to barbarian hordes to come from all the Islamic hellholes of the globe, descend violently upon it – and rape it to death.
Following thematically on the two Pat Condell videos posted immediately below, here’s his latest, published yesterday.
Friday September 25 2015, was a momentous day of very good news and very bad news.
Cause for cheering:
The lachrymose John Boehner announced his forthcoming resignation as Speaker of the House, making way (one hopes) for a stronger Republican leader. No cause for the nation to weep, though no doubt he himself shed a few tears over his failure.
Cause for jeering:
1. Thousands more of Hillary Clinton’s emails surfaced, proving her to have perjured herself. Some hundreds of them, it is reported, concern Libya and Benghazi. We look forward to many a new revelation of her lies, her incompetence, and her self-serving malice. Reports also surfaced of her being seriously unwell. How much longer can the Democratic Party go on pretending that she can be its nominee for the presidency? For as long perhaps as it takes them to find someone else. At present it’s stuck with the corrupt Hillary, the old commie Sanders, and the dimwitted Biden.
2. The Peronist Pope urged America to promote socialism so everyone can be equally poor.
Cause for fearing:
Bigger news is overwhelmingly awful. Overwhelmed by a tsunami of Muslim migrants, Europe’s destruction is fully underway, and needless to say it’s a great tragedy. Of course the Europeans have earned their doom, but it won’t be good for America when the whole European continent is an Islamic caliphate governed by sharia law. And Obama has deliberately made the United States vulnerable to jihad. Through his efforts, there is a terrible probability of nuclear war in this century.
If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject. – Ayn Rand
The political philosophy of the New Left is weak, shallow, and in its expression by some of its gurus, patently absurd. But it has won the West. It has won the academies of the pan-European word, and through them generations grow up steeped in the creed.
What is the creed, and why has it won?
It has won because it echoes a Christian teaching, to which some 8,000 generations (reckoning 4 generations per century) of Europeans have been subjected.
It is the notion that to be a good person you must pity other people and make sacrifices for them. Only if you do that, are you worthy and virtuous.
It has been drummed into every Christian from his earliest years, so even if he rebels against his religion, his class, his culture, his race, his nation, he clings to that idea as to the moral kingpin of his universe. Take it away, and the center will not hold.
The New Left was a rebellion by affluent, middle-class adolescents (some of them well advanced in middle age) against their class, culture, race, and nation, starting about twenty years after the end of the Second World War (1939-1945).
The old Left, a secular version of Christianity, won the support of middle-class intellectuals by directing pity on to the working-class. The intellectuals would, at whatever cost to themselves, lead the oppressed and exploited workers in revolution. In Russia to start with, they did just that before the end of the First World War.
By the late 1960s, the old Left, in the person of dictators and their henchmen, was actively oppressing millions, including the populations of the Eastern European countries and a part of Germany.
So the old Left lost its appeal partly because the Leftist regimes could not easily be held up as models of paradise on earth. In addition, the working-class in the West had generally become prosperous enough to be content with its lot.
The New Left found new victims to feel sorry for. It found them first abroad, in the Third World, which was not prosperous. It declared the people of Third World countries to be exploited and oppressed by European colonialism and imperialism, even if their countries were no longer colonies or parts of empires. Its concern extended to Third World descendants who lived in the First World.
Then it declared that in the First World, women were victims of male-dominated societies. Many women volunteered for the role.
Next, homosexuals were declared, and many declared themselves, victims of heterosexual-dominated First World societies.
The main thing was, New Left intellectuals found new groups to pity, and so new sources for pride in a feeling of self-worth.
After 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War – of which the West was the immediate winner – the old Left was held by Western intellectuals (whom Thomas Sowell calls “the self-annointed”) to have been the wrong Left. The New Left, they maintain, is the politically correct Left.
The strange thing about the (new or old) Left’s remedy for human suffering is this: While only the individual can feel pain and suffer distress; while no masses, no group, no class, no race as such can suffer or feel anything at all; yet the Plan of the Left to remedy suffering is always one that sacrifices individuals for the sake of the group. It is always a Plan that is implemented regardless of individual suffering. So important is the Plan itself, that any number of individuals may be persecuted, silenced, tortured, enslaved, killed for it.
There is no collective remedy for human suffering. The only prescription that works is individual freedom; leaving people alone to serve their own purposes in the manner they choose for themselves. (Nothing need prevent an individual from aiding other individuals if that’s what he wants to do.)
John Schindler, who calls himself “a traditional leftist”, writes about why he believes the New Left has won in an article titled Who Really Won the Cold War?, in The Federalist. I quote it in full.
While he makes some points I do not agree with (chiefly the idea he takes for granted that Leftism ideally serves the cause of “human freedom”), he makes many more that bear out what I have said about the old Left and the New Left, and how and why the New Left has won the Cold War. I found this surprising. But it explains why an essay by a “traditional leftist” appears in The Federalist.
He starts with a figure from the old Left who has just recently risen to prominence:
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party has sent shockwaves far beyond Britain. There has been disbelief that the United Kingdom’s storied left-wing party opted to be led by a man so obviously contemptuous of his own society. In the wake of their recent electoral debacle under the uninspiring Ed Miliband, Labour has chosen as its leader an activist who resembles a walking leftist cliché. Corbyn’s radicalism is not in doubt. Aside from his embrace of socialist-throwback platitudes that linger on his party’s left flank on the full range of domestic issues, in adamant rejection of Blairism, Corbyn’s foreign-policy views merit attention. Openly hostile to NATO and Britain’s longstanding “special relationship” with the United States, Corbyn adds overt sympathy for numerous authoritarian regimes.
He blames the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, not the Kremlin, for the Ukraine crisis and has endorsed Russia Today, Putin’s TV propaganda network. Corbyn opposes essentially all overseas military operations by Britain and wants to parley with Bashar al-Assad, four years into Syria’s fratricide, while viewing Tehran as a partner for Middle East peace.
That said, leftist infatuation with foreign dictators is hardly new. For decades a crush on “progressive” despots safely far away from their own free country has been a staple of the Western far-Left diet. Corbyn is simply a paid-up member of his ideological tribe.
Yet Corbyn surpasses his predecessors in his fervent embrace of the social-justice message at home as well as abroad. He exudes hostility towards the Britain that made the historic Labour Party. This, after all, is a man who celebrates Hamas, Hezbollah, and related Islamist extremists as freedom-fighters, while explaining the death of Osama bin Laden was “a tragedy”.
Unsurprisingly, Corbyn enthusiastically espouses multiculturalism and says Britain should “celebrate” record numbers of immigrants entering the country — a position not popular with many voters, who see the European Union being overwhelmed by waves of migrants from Asia and Africa. Between his crush on the West’s enemies and his desire to change his country’s population, Corbyn wants to abolish Britain, not reform it.
Yet we should not regard Corbyn as a particular outlier. In truth, his cocktail of trendy “progressive” opinions, which rejects virtually everything about their own society, is commonly found among postmodern Western leftists. The only difference is that Corbyn makes no effort to mask his views. Many of his fellow travelers obscure their take, which would be considered extreme by most voters, behind moderate-sounding language.
Unlike Barack Obama, who once assured us that he did not see a Red America or a Blue America, rather a United States of America — then proceeded to govern through two terms as a highly partisan liberal Democrat — Corbyn states openly that there is only one “real” Britain, and it is deep red (which in Britain, as most of Europe, means left-wing).
Corbynism is no sudden or shocking development, but the natural culmination of 50 years of left-wing views that have shifted from a desire to reform Western democracies to an unconcealed wish to kill them, or at least change them so fundamentally that they bear little resemblance to themselves.
The Old Left, for all its sometimes horrific flaws, sought socioeconomic change to benefit average citizens, not all-out social revolution. They, in their own way, were very much a product of Western culture. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which split the Left worldwide into communist and social democratic groupings, the latter worked within the socioeconomic system, embracing democracy while seeking minimal deep changes to society itself.
Even the communists were hardly social revolutionaries in practice. In the initial euphoria of the revolution there was experimentation. The Soviet Union became the first society ever to allow abortion and easy divorce. In Hungary, during the short-lived red revolution at the end of World War I, Bolsheviks embraced social radicalism and introduced sex education to undermine the traditional family.
However, once firmly in power, the Soviets dropped any pretense of social revolution to mirror the politico-economic one. While religion was persecuted and mild feminism got lip service, Stalin banned abortion and the party frowned upon sexual immorality. After all, the revolution needed soldiers and workers, and who but communist women could make those?
Although the abortion ban was dropped after Stalin, Soviet social practices remained highly “heteronormative,” with homosexuality being criminal while men and women were strongly encouraged to marry and be fruitful. In its most extreme form, Nicolae Ceaușescu nearly banned abortion and contraceptives altogether in his effort to build his highly fecund socialist Romania.
Many were the Western progressives who visited the East Bloc during the Cold War, having been fed propaganda about the wondrous “new society”, only to discover that communism was actually behind the West in matters of family, sex, and gender.
While the Soviets and their clients remained mired in traditional social models, the West moved on — or forward, depending on your viewpoint. The great social revolution of the 1960s, which passed the East Bloc by because communism had insulated the countries, brought forth a New Left in the West that was interested in matters of sex, gender, and race rather than who owns the means of production.
Their “long march through the institutions” after a half-century must be judged wholly successful. While the Right has won the battle for economics across the West — calls for public ownership now seem quaint rather than threatening to capitalists — the New Left has triumphed on the social front in every arena.
In the United States, which was more resistant to the New Left agenda than many Western countries, the Obama years have witnessed the victory of social justice on all major matters of race, gender, and sexuality. Thanks to activists, politicians, and courts, Americans today are living in a very different social and sexual world than their parents and grandparents.
More than a few communists saw all this coming. Beginning in the 1970s, East Bloc secret police began to notice the impact of the New Left on their Old Left countries. Cries for radical individualism from dissidents under Western influence troubled the communists, who didn’t know what to do about this trend, which they dismissed as a bourgeois affectation.
By the 1980s, the more perceptive East Bloc security services were denouncing this Western poison, which took the form of radical feminism, sexual freedom, environmental activism, and gay rights. To traditional communists, who barely understood this new ideology, it was a scary Western import, according to the secret police. Some in Eastern Europe termed this decadence “anarcho-liberalism”, and they considered it a disease of an affluent late capitalist society burdened with excessive consumerism and leisure time.
In the end, of course, the communists lost. Lots of average people in the East Bloc wanted the freedom to own cool shoes, while some pined for the social-sexual liberties that the West offered. In many ways, the revolutions of 1989 to 1991 that changed the map and politics of Europe and beyond can be viewed with a quarter-century of hindsight as the defeat of the Old Left in the East by the New Left in the West.
We are living still with the consequences of this seismic political shift. With the sudden disappearance of the communist threat, the Right lost interest in socioeconomic fairness, a Cold War necessity to keep reds at bay on the home-front, while oddly so did the Left.
The obsessive interest of the New Left in social justice has come at the expense of economic concerns, with the result that on a wide range of topics their positions, barring lip service, differ hardly at all from the Right. Few on the Left question our basic economic arrangements; tearing down our social foundations has been their core program.
Barack Obama is the most left-wing president ever on social justice, yet he is a darling of Wall Street. Hillary Clinton, despite her belated interest in social issues, is deeply enmeshed in high finance and will never challenge it. Thus Bernie Sanders, who is an amalgam of Old and New Left, is treated like an atavism by mainstream liberals when he opens the economics can of worms.
It’s all enough to make the few traditional leftists among us want to pull their hair out. The broad alliance of cultural Left and corporate Right, which questions none of our economics, has triumphed in our politics — or at least had until Donald Trump came along to question “settled” issues such as mass, often illegal, immigration. The cultural Left favors this because it gradually dissolves the traditional culture, which they despise, while the corporate Right favors it for the cheap labor. Postmodern capitalism is at least as revolutionary a force as anything cooked up by any Marxist, as well as something any Social Justice Warrior can live with.
For more than a generation we have sorely lacked mainstream contributions from social democrats who seek to make our society better, not destroy it. There ought to be no illusions about what the cultural Left seeks: a full revolution of our society and its history, which they see as benighted by irredeemable racism, sexism, and Old Think. Their opponents are objectively evil and on the“wrong side of history,” as Obama himself has assured us, and they must disappear. “Error has no rights,” the mid-nineteenth-century Vatican formulation, has oddly been adapted by our postmodern Left.
As communists once predicted the state itself would wither away, resulting in complete human freedom and progress, the New Left expects that all traditional societal arrangements will wither away, thereby allowing full human freedom and progress. One offered discipline and order and sometimes gulags; the other offers sexual liberty, anti-racism, and iPhones.
Both these beliefs are illusions, and dangerous ones, rooted in a Marxist sense of “knowing” where history is going. The working class was once revered by leftists as uniquely virtuous, while for the New Left that vanguard role is played by minorities sexual and racial, who are allegedly untainted by the dominant group. The essential willingness to ignore inconvenient truths remains the same.
Let us give the Old Left, particularly its social democratic guise, credit that they did not seek the extirpation of our whole society and culture, but instead its transformation. What the New Left today fights for is far more revolutionary and utopian. A Europe that seeks a future where actual Europeans are a dying remnant, replaced by more vigorous immigrants, is but one manifestation of this worldview.
Leftists once heartily sang the “Internationale,” which promised “This is the final struggle” (C’est la lutte finale). Communists were quite wrong about that. History has moved on and left them behind everywhere but Cuba, North Korea, and Western universities. Yet their social-justice descendants believe the same thing, with a different favored fantasy class.
They will be proved wrong, too. The Corbyn vision has no future to offer most Britons. It would be incomprehensible to generations of Labour patriots who fought for Britain, her values, and her allies. The only question is how much damage to what is left of the West will be inflicted before the New Left is vanquished, too.
I wish I could share his optimism that the New Left will be vanquished (in the foreseeable future).
And what I miss in the essay is any reference to the human misery that “traditional leftism” of the redder kind has caused wherever it has had power to cause it. Of course, his focus is on the British Left, which was never – until now? – as red as all that.
I dislike his implication that collectivism (aka Leftism) of his favored – or any – kind is a valid recipe for improving what Leftists have called “the human condition”.
But I applaud his recognition that the New Left “seeks the extirpation of our whole society and culture”, and that he deplores that terrible aim.
If only he could also see that it is logically, even necessarily, derived from the old socialist collectivist thinking to which he remains faithful!
Jillian Becker September 18, 2015
A video addressed to the Senate Democrats who support Obama’s deal with Iran:
Here’s a moderately good satirical video making a very important point about Obama’s “deal” with Iran:
If Khamenei calls Obama now, he’ll get two deals for the price of one.
(And the price to Iran is zero anyway.)