Last week, I wrote a column challenging Professor Richard Landes of Boston University to respond to the critique I wrote of his own arguments against Judith Butler. In that article, I argued that well-meaning men of the Left like Prof. Landes should give up trying to tell people like Butler that the reasons for their hostility to Israel contradict the humanist values of the Left. I argued that it is a fool’s errand trying to save the Left from itself; that in today’s world, what defines being on the Left are precisely the kind of positions Landes and others disdain....Continue reading.
I discussed Landes’ argument with my friend David Horowitz, and he e-mailed me a thoughtful response with which I mainly concur. Horowitz writes:
The distinction he makes between a demotic Left and a revolutionary Left is fairy dust. Yes there have been and still are a handful of decent but impotent people on the Left whose political weight is non-existent. Whatever happened to the Euston Manifesto? What are the leftwing publications, organizations, recognized spokesmen who are defending Jews and Christians and even gays and women against the Islamo-Nazis? Were the same even calling them Nazis, which is what they are (and yes, the Nazis themselves were leftists)?
There is a fundamental snobbery and arrogance evident in the postures of the so-called demotic mini-Left. The leftists actually have a monopoly on all the values that we associate with human decency, equality, liberty, etc. But these values were actually instituted and made into a global force by conservatives — American conservatives who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and created a political system to make those values real. Judith Butler doesn’t act out of good intentions. She acts out of the same emotion that motivates the Left generally, which is hate. Henry James described them all in describing the feminist heroine of his novel The Bostonians: “It was the usual things of life that filled her with silent rage, which was natural enough, inasmuch as to her vision almost everything that was usual was iniquitous. … The most secret, the most sacred hope of her nature was that she might some day … be a martyr and die for something.” Or as Marx — who is the inspiration for all leftists — put it: “Everything that exists deserves to perish.” That is the true voice of leftism. What the demotic mini-Left is about is sentimentality.andes and others disdain.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
From Ron Radosh, "Why There Cannot Be a Decent Left: An Answer to Richard Landes":