Friday, August 12, 2005

Left Out In The Cold

Introducing our first guest blogger: Devil’s Advocate. Devil’s Advocate is an acquaintance of The Realist and a regular reader of Liberal Elite, albeit one who often disagrees with us. True to the spirit of liberalism, we've offered him a guest spot to put forward a view point of his own. Over to you, Devil’s Advocate. . .

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So the left are asking some ‘searching’ questions at the moment. . . or should be. Still in shock from the realisation that not everyone in the US agreed that Bush was a man-monkey hell bent on ‘Christianising’ the whole world when they re-elected him, they are now seeing their mish-mash of multi-culturalism, “human rights” and ‘isms’ blow up in their face (an unfortunate analogy).

July 7th was supposedly all about the invasion of Iraq, the absence of a free Palestine, etc, etc. No matter that the bombers (and their shit imitators two weeks later) were either British-born or living here - benefits and all. This is what the “philosophy” of multi-culturalism and human rights have left us with. Communities who feel they have a right to separate themselves from the rest of society, yet attack it because its government doesn’t meet with their view of the world. What a ‘free for all’ this country is turning into – is Britain becoming the slag of all countries?

After all those advocating integration were labelled as (insert your own ‘ist’ here), they have now been proved right. Even Trevor Phillips agrees . Nick Cohen, one of the few good writers on the left at the moment, brilliantly identified many of the problems. The left’s response? "He no longer blindly follows our failed train of thought. He’s obviously joined the right."

If the left wants to reclaim anything close to the mainstream, they need to look within for the solution. Where was their workable alternative to war in Iraq? There wasn’t one – just their usual fall-back of: "Comrades, it’s time for a protest. I’ll call Socialist Worker".

Accept the world has moved on. People will also no longer be labelled ‘racist’ because they believe in a basic set of shared rules and values, ‘selfish’ if they resent giving much of their wage blindly to the taxman and the rest of it. If the left doesn’t deal with this, then people like Bush and his “Christian Soldiers” will be only too happy to.

Devil's Advocate.

13 comments:

Citizen Sane said...

Devil's Advocate, welcome! The Nick Cohen (funny, didn't he used to present TV:AM?) article was excellent, but I would point you to Christopher Hitchens as a better example of a writer of the "left" accused of being a turncoat for his views on Islamofascism. Hitch is a legend.

ash said...

The workable alternative to invading Iraq? How about um...not invading Iraq? Besides, I'm not sure the present plan is turning out to be that 'workable' anyway.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell, Bush is a great disappointment to us Conservatives in to many domestic issues. To me he was the leader of a covert Liberal sleeper Cell. There has been a political phase shift here. Liberals used to be called Socialists here but now are called Democrats while our Republicans are yestersays Democrat and to be sure neither party wants a third party as it would be CONSERVATIVE. Even so we are used to our faces hurting and we are very much still subject to accusation of rascims and bigotry.

Want some halarious insight to the Palistinian mentality check out yesterdays New York Times article about the Israeli withdrawal and the Palistinian Independence Day. dw

Anonymous said...

Ash, you're music to my ears. 'How about not invading Iraq?'. You obviously place maintaing your street cred above freeing people from tyranny. I'm assuming the situation as it was, was quite acceptable to you then?

'Well, he may be killing thousands of his own people, but I'd rather that than let the west get involved'.

DA

Citizen Sane said...

DA - I think the counterpoint from someone who opposed invading Iraq would be: where next? Where does it all end? It’s not like Iraq was the only totalitarian murderous regime, nor the worst. Are we going to invade them all?

Personally, I didn't oppose it and still think there could be positive consequences in the long term, but I can see why people have grievances. Firstly, it was never proposed as a means of "freeing people from tyranny" was it? It was meant to be about WMDs. Of course, we knew all along that it wasn't, but I suppose regime change was too tough a sell at the time. I think the offical reasons changed retrospectively when it was obvious (like it wasn't already) that Saddam didn't have much more than a Swiss army knife and a big stick in his weapons inventory.

I think too many on the "left" don't look at the bigger picture and think it was only about the oil (such a cliché), to which I say: have you SEEN what's happened to the price of oil in the last two years? It's rising at inflation-busting proportions and threatens to destabilise the entire global economy. So if invading Iraq was only about securing US oil supplies and therefore defending western capitalist hegemony (the Noam Chomsky/Michael Moore argument) then it's been an utter failure hasn't it? Where is all this extra oil that we were meant to be securing?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely - I agree that both Bush and Blair were at the very least inaccurate in their reasoning for invading Iraq. This argument is not exclusive to those who were against the invasion. Honesty in public life is important to a stable democracy. Furthermore, there is still a mountain to climb.

I think the problems in Iraq highlight more the failure of the left than the right, though. Bush was effectively allowed free reign, partly because the only real opposition he encountered was that of 'American hegemony' or 'blood for oil' as you rightly pointed out. We could have done things differently in Iraq if those opposing an outright war looks for alternative (and urgent) means to remove Hussein.

As for invading other dictatorships - if they refuse to hold democratic elections, why not? If you believe in democracy, you believe in it for everyone. It is not the preserve of the west, and it is not culturally-specific, be it Britain or the Middle East. And I challenge anyone to give me anything close to a sensible argument otherwise!

Citizen Sane said...

Well, I'm simply playing Devil's Advocate to your Devil's Advocate so I'm not taking up your challenge if only because I agree with your sentiment. However, that's a hell of a lot of countries to sort out isn't it? Where shall we begin? Zimbabwe? Iran? North Korea? China? It cannot be done!

Anonymous said...

I think too many on the "left" don't look at the bigger picture and think it was only about the oil (such a cliché), to which I say: have you SEEN what's happened to the price of oil in the last two years?

Are you saying that it's not about the oil?

PS: Please detail the "positive consequences". July 7th?

Citizen Sane said...

Yes, I'm saying it's not about the oil. Well spotted. Stability in the Middle East is the long term objective, not just grabbing all the oil. Which, as per my point, can't be happening: I refer you, once again, to the price of oil right now: $66 a barrel and rising. The price BEFORE Iraq? Around $35. Simple supply side economics - the price is going up because there is less being produced. For the record, do you know who the biggest exporter of oil to the US is? Canada. No doubt that's the next target then because US foreign policy is ONLY about the oil I suppose?

Positive consequences? Directly: removal of a genocidal despot and his despicable regime, fledgling democracy in its place (yes, it is), majority support for the change, revival of democratic movement in the region. Indirectly: Syrian troops out of Lebanon, cancellation of Libyan WMD programme, Israeli peace process renewal.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, Bush has probably done more towards a Palestinin state that someone like Kerry would have.

I'm not necessarily suggesting that we have a war in every country in the world where there is a dictatorship - but in all cases, we have the power to remove dictators at least - we put most of them there for a start, after all! My philosophy if anything, is more to the left. For too long, the west has helped or put dictators in place to maintain economic interests or "stability" etc. I'm saying that this has to be reversed - and will be a huge step (esp in Africa) to a fairer world.

Can't be done overnight obviously, but we can put pressure on these regimes, and if they do not hold full and free democractic elections, then we have force as a last resort.

We can't let western guilt (Africa) or worrying about being accused of Islamophobia (Iran etc) stand in the way. We can't re-write history, but we can right some wrongs and as a consequence, have a safer and fairer world in the long term.

DA

Turgenev said...

Citizen Sane - Once again you fail to see the wood from the trees. It all comes down to nothing more than crass US imperialism. Even the most superfical examanition of of post-war US foreign policy exposes its relentless push towards a capitalist/christian/centre-right hegemony. Notions you may find appealing but I find most distasteful. This isn't about Bush's desire for stability in the middle east - what an incredibly naive suggestion. Time to take off your blue-tinted spectacles.

Citizen Sane said...

*Yawns*

DA - this is your post, so you can deal with this one. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Turgenev, what result of this do you find so distasteful? Are you actually against the removal of a party that modelled itself on the Nazis, purely because America removed them? Isn't that slightly prejudiced?! (a word you're fond of using rather liberally, I'm sure).

Just to take Iraq: a democratic government, granted warts and all, is now in place. We are also edging ever close to a free Palestine. Please explain to me how this equals US imperialism. Or did you just copy and paste your last post straight from 'Studies in World Politics by Dave Spart, Vol 3 (1982)'?

DA