April 23, 2006

The "Decent Left" game...

Orrin Judd, commenting on an article about the Euston group, writes

Note the core problem that Mr. Hutton and the most good-intentioned members of the Decent Left can't overcome: they accept the notion that you can be a liberal in good standing but oppose replacing a genocidal tyrant like Saddam with a parliamentary democracy on principle. They want to sleep with Evil but wake up virginal in the morning.

There can't be a "Decent Left." Here's the first sentence of the article:

To be on the left is to be both temperamentally inclined to dissent and to be passionate about your own utopia, which can never be achieved. Condemned to disappointment, you rage at the world, your party and your leader...

It's all right there, folks. Though the author does not make explicit a couple of teensy-weensy little things. One of which is that it is always necessary to build any "utopia" by the force of the state. Leading to incarceration or death for those who oppose utopia. Leading, as one of John LeCarré's* characters put it, to: "boiler suits and a long march to nowhere." The other little thing is that since people don't want to be forced into "utopia," to be a leftist is to be opposed to democracy. They may play for a while at being friends of democracy, but it's always just a pose. It never includes support for the possibility of the voters rejecting leftist utopias. Which they will always do in the end.

Back when the right was more reactionary and isolationist, it was easier to play the "Decent Left" game. The decent types could work with the totalitarian types in opposing American support for some fascisitic authoritarian regime, they could all call for democracy, and paper over the fact that most leftists were aiming for another Castro or Mao, and had no interest in democracy.

It's not possible any more. George W Bush has ended the game. He is openly and passionately pushing for democracy, from an explicitly Christian and free-market vision. And from an explicitly American and optimistic vision, that does not imagine that people will embrace democracy in order to install any lefty "utopias."

The Left hates Bush, and America, for good reasons. And any coalition lead by the "decent left" is doomed to failure.

*Le Carré seems to me to be some sort of "decent lefist" himself, which would explain his bitterness and rage against President Bush.

Posted by John Weidner at April 23, 2006 9:28 AM
Weblog by John Weidner