The Right Coast
August 17, 2004
Honourable Despair from the Left
By Maimon Schwarzschild
Read Nick Cohen's very unusual piece in last week's New Statesman, Britain's left-wing weekly. Cohen despairs -- rightly, I think -- of today's left, just as that very left seems to have largely captured the Democratic Party. "Those who used to burn with anger against oppression and were united in fraternity with the vulnerable are today all too happy to whitewash Saddam's regime and applaud Michael Moore's films."
There no longer is a left with a coherent message of hope for the human race. The audiences at Michael Moore films don't look at his propaganda images of kite-flying kiddies and pull themselves up short by thinking of what happened to their comrades in Iraq. They have no comrades. They don't support Saddam. They don't support his foes. They have no policy to offer. The noise of their self-righteous anger is merely cover for an indifference bred of failure.
Marxism-Leninism is as dead as any idea can be -- it made the fatal blunder of putting its ideas into practice and died of shame. Fifty years ago there were revolutionary socialist movements in dozens of countries ready to take power. Today there isn't one, and the world is a better place for that.
The pity of the aftermath is that while the honourable traditions of the left are forgotten, the worst flourish and mutate into aberrations that would have made our predecessors choke.