One thing I could not get past as I read, argued, and pondered in the mid-80s was their constant inability to oppose the soul crushing international Communist movement. I'm not sure what was the exact tipping point for me, but it was somewhere along and understanding of the left's long record of promoting the blood soaked Communists in Central America (I grew up around Cubans, so that was in the air). That set the stage for a dust up I had concerning the genocide in Ukraine that broke first in the open while I was in college. The same gaggle that prattled on about Western imperialism in the previous centuries showed no interest in the horrors of Stalin's Soviet Union - something as distant to then as the Vietnam War is to today.
In a paragraph, I guess that is as good as a description of a critical juncture of my final pivot as any.
In the years since, I have come to realize that the Western left's love of Communism was a combo of a few items. First, as the distilled essence of the political left, Communism had to be defended or at least excused in order to protect the fringes of the vital center, Socialism. The selfish seduction of both of these political ideas once you got past the window dressing of helping he "working class," was that they gave the promise of power to leaders of the movement. A lot of power for a few people who had the will to use it.
Power, on both the personal and macro levels, is a drug - a drug people have an innate desire to get, hold, and enjoy.
In the stew of a lust for power, there was another flavoring - self-loathing. In the tightened eyes, curled lips, and strident tones through clenched teeth, you could feel their loathing of the nation and the culture that they were born to. Trust fund leftists like Katrina vanden Heuvel are perfect examples of such creatures. They were rarely happy about much, but they loathed so much. Anything that loathed their nation or culture as much a they loathed it was their friend. For much of the 20th Century, Communism was it - so regardless of what it represented, it was a friend to be excused and supported.
Of course, hard core Communism is gone from the world scene except for the college campus and a few nation-state freak shows. For the left, the lack of a threat to the West and the fruits of the Enlightenment created a void that had to be filled, but with what?
In the immediate post-Communist era, the left searched long and hard for another effective tool to exercise their self-loathing.
The Green movements was the first place they migrated to. It held the promise for power, money and influence, but never really got an electoral footing and as such, limited the ability to leverage great power. It enriched a few poseurs like Al Gore and brought various tomato EuroGreen parties in to partnership of a few governments, but it never really took off.
Green anti-West agiprop is easily countered as the worst offenders of the Green Goddess are non-Western. Still, it was and is effective on the margins for useful idiots, but only as a bit player.
For the bloody minded left, there was still nothing that held the romantic threat to core Western values. Nothing made the hated West blanch in fear ... until it became clear after 11 September 2001.
Islamism was it. Islamism would be the new club.
Each year since, their partnership has grown. The left have put to the side those things they like to say they support; feminism, LGBT rights, freedom of speech, etc - in order to embrace their romantic blood soaked fringe.
This time, it isn't Ché'a beret, but the hijab and black-and-white Palestinian Keffiyeh.
It is harder to spot weld on to the left's usual line-up of public consumption causes, but that won't stop them from trying.
For the last few years, the left have gotten their footing and with the remaining backwash from the remnant Communists, they are back as a factor. With Obama out of office, they have a clear range.
Easy or already compromised targets are where they have tried out their new verve; their greatest success as of late has been at our weakest point; our universities.
They fold quickly to the Antifa & Islamist shock troops. Not just in the USA, but the entire West, especially the Anglosphere. As such, they will keep going and will expand their spectrum of excuses to violence until they find stiff resistance. That is why each surrender will just make the eventual stand harder, more costly, and deadlier.
The latest example is the shameful retreat from support to one of the lions of The Enlightenment, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
The front today; Australia.
The news that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has cancelled her speaking tour of Australia due to ‘security concerns’ should concern anyone who believes in freedom. It is a dark day when a woman who fled to the West to escape the Islamist suffocations of Somalia, and precisely so that she might think and speak freely, feels she cannot say certain things in certain places. That even a Western, liberal, democratic nation like Australia cannot guarantee Hirsi Ali the freedom to speak her mind without suffering censorship or harm is deeply worrying. It points to the mainstreaming of intolerance, to the adoption by certain people in the West of the illiberalism that makes up the very Islamist outlook that Hirsi Ali and others have sought to escape.Shame. Shame on everyone on the left - and shame on everyone else for surrendering again.
Hirsi Ali’s Oz tour, ‘Hero of Heresy’, had been due to kick off this Thursday. She would have visited Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, hosted by Think Inc., an organisation devoted to ‘the promotion of intellectual discourse’. But today, citing, among other things, ‘security concerns’, Think Inc. announced the tour was off.
The more people depict certain ideas as unfit for public life, the more they send out a signal that the people who hold those ideas are dangerous and wicked, and possibly fair game for violence. They branded Hirsi Ali an enemy of public order and decency, no doubt making it easier for others to fantasise about punishing her. They said she would harm Australia and its Muslims, no doubt giving others the idea that she should therefore be kept out of Australia by any means necessary.
Where some want to crush the likes of Hirsi Ali or Charlie Hebdo with laws and bans, others want to crush them with violence. Different means, yes; but these two sections of society, the chin-strokers and the gun-strokers, share the same aim: to silence people whose ideas they dislike. The bookish censor lends moral authority to the violent censor. From the failure to stand up for Salman Rushdie to the No Platforming of the likes of Hirsi Ali today, too many thinkers in the supposedly tolerant West unwittingly give a nod of approval to efforts to shut down ‘dangerous’ people. The signal we should be sending to society is not that some ideas are too dangerous for public life, but that no ideas, even ridicule of Islam, will ever be silenced or punished; that it is unacceptable ever to harm someone simply for what they think and say.
Stand up people and call these leftists out.
If you ever find yourself sitting next to someone at a feminist march wearing the symbol of patriarchal oppression, or Jew-hating terrorism - you may want to re-evaluate your political decisions.
If you find yourself making excuses for being led by convicted terrorists, or are in alignment with people who proudly mimic blood soaked political movements of the past - you may want to re-evaluate your political decisions.
In any event, don't get all butthurt when others look at you for what you are; a tool or a fool.