The 21st century isn't looking any better for the political Left, if its first decade is any indicator. Here are two very different stories, both telling the same tale.
Larry Elder notices the wide-spread hypocrisy regarding that shoe-throwing fellow the left and some of the Arab world is so agog about.
The violence-hating al-Zeidi, according to reports, displays a picture of the "revolutionary" Che Guevara on his wall. Cuban émigré Humberto Fontova, author of "Exposing the Real Che Guevara," credits Guevara with 14,000 executions. Witnesses say this icon for many radicals personally murdered hundreds -- including children and pregnant women. But we digress.Meanwhile, Michael C. Moynihan reviews Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism, by Bernard-Henri Levy.
Sometimes I wonder of it isn't simply a matter of growing up, becoming an adult, and realizing the extent to which the world really isn't simple, and can't be made "all right". Moynihan hints at this in his review, noting how Levy's biography of coming to his senses isn't really excusable - and, I'd add, reflects his growing ability to face a reality that was there all along:
Lévy denounces left-wing activists such as the Indian writer Arundhati Roy, who advised Westerners to support the insurgency in Iraq, as members of “the fake left”—because, he argues, the real left would never excuse barbarism. The conspiratorial view of Western governments’ foreign policy motives, the warnings of impending fascism, and the insistence on viewing all world events through the lens of anti-imperialism, Lévy argues, are handcuffing the anti-totalitarian left. He is doubtless right that shoehorning most every geopolitical dispute into a reductionist argument about the appetites of the Empire (and to his opponents, there is only one empire) “is no longer analysis but magic.” Anti-imperialism, a cause he clearly associates himself with, risks descending into “conspiracy-mongering.” For Lévy, it is difficult to divine imperialist intent in NATO’s intervention in Serbia (which many on the European left opposed, to his irritation) or to view Israel’s war with Lebanon as a quest for territorial expansion, without even a mention of its theocratic enemies.
The publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago in 1973, he writes, “shook our generation to its core.” Well, it shouldn’t have. Reliable information had long existed outlining the brutality and barbarism of both Leninism and Stalinism. (The God That Failed was published in 1949, for instance, and reliable information about the Great Purge of the 1930s had long been available.) The Khmer Rouge’s genocide in Cambodia, which began in 1975, is also presented as a turning point. “Cambodia is when everything unravels,” Lévy writes, “and the age finally realizes what’s what.” And while “not everyone believes it at first”—because they simply have no desire to believe—“the news is verified and spread, it comes as a shock.” Again, one wonders why, this late in the game, mass killings by dictatorships of the proletariat would provoke any surprise.