March 27, 2003

The Left's infantile paralysis

Daniel Pipes makes good observations about the many failings of the left in considering Saddam.

The same goes for Saddam Hussein, whose gruesome qualities matter less to the Left than the fact of his confronting and defying the United States. In its view, anyone who does that can't be too bad — never mind that he brutalizes his subjects and invades his neighbors. The Left takes to the streets to assure his survival, indifferent both to the fate of Iraqis and even to their own safety, clutching instead at the hope that this monster will somehow bring socialism closer.

Much as I admire Pipe's argument, I feel that he has painted the Left as a single entity who believe in this way. The Straw Man argument. Luckily, not everyone is reading from the same playbook, viz Christopher Hitchens.

I count myself on the leftish side of things, despiser of most things Bush and the Republicans are in favor of.

But I was shocked not too long ago when an acquaintance, an otherwise reasonably intelligent guy, started to speak respectfully about Venezuela's resident thug Chavez. When I looked shocked, he backed way off with the weaselly "well, I know he's probably not a very good guy ..."

That's when I knew. For a certain loonitarian segment of the Left, it isn't about what is right, what is wrong, what is progressive, what is humanitarian. No, it's about who is standing up to the US, pure and simple. If someone stands up and proclaims his anti-American bona fides, it doesn't matter what kind of hood he is, he gets an automatic bust in the Pantheon of the Left.

It isn't socialism, as Pipes would have it, it's hate.

That's why the endless canonization of Fidel. He sure puts it to "the man", doesn't he? Bah. I used to know people who positively worshipped Enver Hoxha and Kim il Sung. Sad the state of anti-Americanism that we now have such heroes as Saddam, Osama, Chavez, Mugabe, Milosevic and Dear Leader.

But I guess the anti-Americans can have Chirac. The man last spring was voted for "avec les gants" (with rubber gloves) by the French Left. But he stands up to the Unilateral Hegemon (I like that, sounds like a villain in a comic), so "what a guy!"

We would have Schroeder — a man of the left — but he has about zero chance of surviving much longer.

Until the left gets past this infantile Manicheanism that everything US is evil and everything that opposes the US is good, they are doomed to the inconsequentiality that befell the Marxist movements.

Posted by campbell at 12:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Andrew Thomson: The War Against America

From The Weekly Standard, a cogent article on Anti-Americanism by Andrew Thomson, a former government minister under John Howard in Australia:

The war against America has been on foot for some years. Its first manifestation came during the 1990s in the form of militant Islam's sporadic attacks on Americans outside the United States. This was followed by the Pearl Harbor of the new century in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. All the while the world stood by and watched. It became the normal thing that America was attacked.

I think Thomson puts the date of the first manifestation as way too late.

I think there is a seamless line from the anti-Pershing missile campaigns of the 1980s, most of which were being prodded and funded by the old KGB and Stasi, through the anti-globalization riots and demonstrations of the 90s to the Islamist attacks.

Generally, it follows a similar pattern of grievance and the embodiment of the grievance in one symbolic monster: the United States. The grievance may be rooted in realities of poverty, but that hardly matters. It's more important that the grievance be seen as a chance to slap at the US.

It's like that old Abbott and Costello routine where Abbott gets the big guy angry at Costello by slapping him and saying that is what Costello wants to do.

My new slogan, swiped and modified from a skateboarder's t-shirt:
You say Unilateral Hegemon like it's a bad thing.

Posted by campbell at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Design Police are never around when you need them.

This is disturbing. UPS has gone over to the dark side with their new logo, dumping the classic by Paul Rand.

The original:

The tarted-up, by Futurebrand of New York:

The first comment I've gotten: "It looks like a gas station."

So here we have the design cliché of the 90s — the swoop — mixed with the metal shine cliché. I give it 5 years.

Posted by campbell at 12:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack