Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What Is Left?

Melanie Phillips, commenting on a piece by Gerard Baker from the LondonTimes, notes that both George Bush and Tony Blair are experiencing a period of decline in support. She says:

the characteristics of this left revival are anti-globalisation and visceral anti-Americanism – with the main target of their ire and scorn America’s mission to spread democracy. As Baker writes:

‘In the Middle East the left finds it much easier to side with the mullahs and the jihadists, the persecutors of women and the torturers of dissidents. America’s flaws at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are viewed by the Left’s political and intellectual leaders as morally indistinguishable from (or perhaps worse than) anything the Islamists and Arab despots have got up to.

'To be fair, not all on the Left have taken their stand on the side of reaction. But the trends in political debate in the West are strikingly clear. We are well on the way to an inversion of the classic Left-Right divide.
These days if you’re in favour of policies designed to promote global economic integration, policies that have led hundreds of millions in Asia, Latin America, and Africa out of the misery of grinding poverty, and have significantly lifted the standard of living of workers in the West too; if you support change to topple tyrannical regimes and give some hope to people who have suffered in fledgling democracies, you’re now more likely to be considered a conservative.
What, exactly, is Left?’

As I have remarked before, it seems to me that one of the deeper reasons for the left’s pathological hatred of President Bush is that, in his foreign policy it is he who is acting as a liberal interventionist and it is the left who stand exposed as reactionary supporters of murderous and tyrannical ‘stability’.
It is the same in domestic policy, where it is the left who take the reactionary position of going along with socially destructive trends that make victims out of the vulnerable.

I believe this to be true. Of course, I was a liberal, who voted for nothing but Democrats my whole, until just 3 1/2 years ago. I watch now as Republicans have changed their Middle East policy to support regime change rather than realpolitik, as Bush is credited by Bono as deserving a place in history for his Africa policy, and as the right leads the call to do something about Sudan.

What is left? What is left of the left?