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C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Problems with the Left

Most of us who are familiar with his writings already know the views of Victor Davis Hanson about the left, the UN, and the Middle East. I actually don't care for much of some of his editorial writing because it is too polemical. But in his December 17th column for the National Review, he sets out four major problem areas for the left, and he does so very well. His arguments are directed at the U.S. left, but they apply to the leftists of Canada, Europe, and elsewhere, too. The entire article elucidates, but here are some quotes that provide a summary:

  1. There really isn't a phenomenon like "Islamophobia"—at least no more than there was a "Germanophobia" in hating Hitler or "Russophobia" in detesting Stalinism. Any unfairness or rudeness that accrues from the "security profiling" of Middle Eastern young males is dwarfed by efforts of Islamic fascists themselves—here in the U.S., in the U.K., the Netherlands, France, Turkey, and Israel—to murder Westerners and blow up civilians.

  2. "Imperialism" and "hegemony" explain nothing about recent American intervention abroad—not when dictators such as Noriega, Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein were taken out by the U.S. military. There are no shahs and Your Excellencies in their places, but rather consensual governments whose only sin was that they came on the heels of American arms rather than U.N. collective snoozing.

  3. It won't do any longer to attribute American outrage over the U.N. to a vast right-wing conspiracy led by red-state senators and Fox News. All the standing ovations for Kofi Annan cannot hide the truth that the Oil-for-Food scandal exceeds Enron… There can be no serious U.N. moral sense as long as illiberal regimes--a Syria, Iran, or Cuba--vote in the General Assembly and the Security Council stymies solutions out of concern for an autocratic China that swallowed Tibet. Millions were slaughtered in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur while New York bureaucrats either condemned Israel or damned anyone who censured their own inaction and corruption. Rather than faulting those who fault the U.N., leftists should lament the betrayal of the spirit of the liberal U.N. Charter by regimes that are neither democratic nor liberal but who seek legitimacy solely on their ability to win concessions and sympathy from guilt-ridden Westerners.

  4. So it is also time to take a hard look at the heroes and villains of Hollywood, liberal Democrats, and the Euro elites. Many are as obsessed with damning the senile dictator of Chile as they are with excusing the unelected President for Life Fidel Castro. But let us be frank. A murderous Pinochet probably killed fewer of his own than did a mass-murdering Castro, and left Chile in better shape than contemporary Cuba is in. And the former is long gone, while the latter is still long in power.

    Similarly, Nobel Prizes increasingly go to either unsavory or unhinged characters. Yasser Arafat was a known killer and terrorist, not a global peacemaker. Wangari Maathai's public statements about AIDS are puerile and ipso facto would have eliminated any Westerner from consideration for anything. Rigoberta Menchu Tum herself was a half-truth, her story mostly a creation of a westernized academic publishing elite. Jimmy Carter's 2002 award was not predicated on his past work on housing for the poor, but his critically timed and calculated opposition to George W. Bush's effort to topple Saddam Hussein--as was confirmed by the receptive Nobel Committee itself.

I wonder how Hanson incorporates the Japanese internment camps in the U.S. and Canada during WWII into his position set out in point #1. As much as I agree with him, he seems to overstate his case somewhat.

[thanks to Ben for the pointer. If you are interested in other works by Hanson (he is a noted scholar of the wars in Ancient Greece), you can find them from the box below.]

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