Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Left and the Right

There's an interesting discussion in Frontpage Magazine between Jamie Glazov, David Horowitz, Norman Geras and Nick Cohen on the subject of the possible evolution of a "new" New Left. One of the points of interest in the debate is the clearly evident barrier of communication between Right and Left, with Glazov and Horowitz apparently unable to comprehend the position of their interlocutors, who believe that there's a Left that has not historically aligned itself with, or supported, totalitarianism, and who have written a manifesto to promote that point of view.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the lack of understanding is the fact that for so many decades the vast majority of left-aligned politicians, journalists and debaters in the West supported the cause of Western nuclear disarmament. In 2001, Christopher Hitchens wrote:
There's no pleasing some people, but as a charter supporter of the nuclear disarmament campaign, I can remember a time when the peace movement was not an auxiliary to dictators and aggressors in trouble. Looking at some of the mind-rotting tripe that comes my way from much of today's left, I get the impression that they go to bed saying: What have I done for Saddam Hussein or good old Slobodan or the Taliban today?
The problem is that by supporting the nuclear disarmament campaign, the Western Left acted as an auxiliary to some very nasty dictators and aggressors indeed - the ones in the Kremlin. And it's the Left's inability today to come to terms with that past and that responsibility which makes it hard to believe in the possibility of a Left that will no longer take such options.

This is really the point that Glazov and Horowitz are making, though it's never actually stated in the discussion.
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