‘Why I’ve finally given up on the left
Left-wing thought has shifted towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic. It is insupportable
I find young Cohen’s epiphany fascinating. A dim bulb – about the wattage of one in a refrigerator – is finally going on over his head, but he still doesn’t entirely get it. He marvels at the vitriolic Communist cant directed toward apostates:
… you are condemned in language not heard since the fall of Marxist Leninism. ‘This pathetic small-minded jealousy of the anti-democratic bourgeois shows them up for the reactionary neocons they really are,’ a Guardian commenter told its columnist Rafael Behr after he had criticised Corbyn.
as though it were an aberration, some bizarre mutation (perhaps induced by global warming) that rather than resulting in Godzilla or Rodan has instead changed the fundamental nature of left-wing politics.
The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid.
His policy prescriptions establish his bona fides as an out and proud useful idiot:
If they were true to their professed principles, my book argued, modern leftists would search out secular forces in the Muslim world — Iranian and Arab feminists, say, Kurdish socialists or Muslim liberals struggling against reactionary clerics here in Britain — and embrace them as comrades. Instead, they preferred to excuse half the anti-western theocrats and dictators on the planet.
Here’s the part he doesn’t (or at least, didn’t) get: what he’s seeing now is the true face of the left, not an aberration. All the social justice nonsense to which he earnestly subscribed was cynically promoted by the hard left purely as a vehicle for agitation. They couldn’t care less about feminists, homosexuals, blacks, the environment, Muslims, humanitarian causes, or indeed anything else but achieving power. They haven’t embraced secular forces in the Muslim world as “comrades” because that would help to stabilize the region. The hard left wants to promote instability (in the Middle East, and in the West), all the better to overthrow the existing order, and the murderous fundamentalist lunatics are doing yeoman’s work in that regard. So they support said lunatics.
The hard left’s “professed principles” were merely a marketing ploy, Marxist taqiyya, for consumption by the cognitively disenfranchised. He’s seeing it now because the hard left thinks it’s in end game and is letting the mask drop.
I realise now what I should have known years ago. The causes I most care about — secularism, freedom of speech, universal human rights — are not their causes.
Better late than never, I guess. As he says elsewhere in the article:
What a fool I was.