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How the Left is Lost... Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Mike, Australia Oct 24, 2003
Human Rights   Opinions
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It’s funny, isn’t it? There has existed at only a few times since the emergence of the post-modern age a situation where the right has had such an amount of vicious suspicion towards the left and where the left has had such a degree of contempt for the right; and yet during all of these times there existed the popular impression that society in general was not in danger of imploding because of it’s own inner-conflict, but rather of being annihilated by some kind of external threat. Why is it then, that in an age where cities of pluralistic genius like New York are but another Tuesday morning away from destruction, that bipartisanship has never seemed such a threatened concept than now? In the black and white struggles between fascism in the middle of last century and the symbiotic relationship of Communism and the West throughout the Cold War, we here in the so-called free world knew without question who held the moral highground. Now it seems that in the fury of economic rationalism and the euphoria of the information revolution we have lost not only the trust we had in our leaders but the trust we placed in the system itself.

That is not to say, however much one could argue, that all is lost. Indeed, society has never before gained such a sudden insight into the ability of fear compounded upon a million other niches in which evil disguises itself in than it did on 9/11. From that Tuesday’s education, one would have hoped that we learned from what manifested such a slaughter, and at least attempted to grapple at the factors that perpetuate such discontent among many of the world’s poorest peoples towards many of the world’s wealthiest. Trust me when I say this relates to the issue of partisanship.

The conservatives in our society wish us, generally speaking, to kill the enemy. Kill the enemy like we have vanquished all the other aggressors that have threatened our way of life. Forget, of course, that the Communist Party simply whimpered out into oblivion, with many high-ranking Soviet Officials not recognising the demise of their system until it had been swept from under their feet. Ignore the fact that seeking to resist the Communist threat in South East Asia – remember Vietnam? - resulted in such loss of life that it’s memory would hang like a cloud of shame over the military institution in the U.S for the rest of the century. The right, in other words, would love us to forget the wrongs we have made and continue along the path of cultural self-preservation. I only know of Dictators to choose that path; since self-interest only perpetuates self-destruction.
The left wants us to do something very different. No-ones quite sure what it is exactly, but violently attacking the peoples of the nation-states that harbour the terrorists doesn’t fit right in with the manifesto of leftist existence, and praising the enemy isn’t an option. Perhaps the only thing going for the left right now is that, unlike in the time of the Cold War where Trade Unionism seemed a synonym for Communism, their beliefs explicitly conflict with that of the fundamentalists. This time, the side whose beliefs mirror most incredibly that of the enemy is the, um, right.

See, even before 9/11 the gravest threat to the pluralistic values that had come to be so celebrated in manifestos of multi-culturalism and reflected in the cultural expressions of many western countries were those people who rejected moves to accept, for instance, same-sex attracted people into mainstream society. There are a countless other examples, namely to do with issues involving the separation of church and state. These people were mostly typified by their resistance to accepting the presence of activities previously considered taboo, or unlike those previously celebrated in western society. Often misinterpreting progress for political correctness, these conservatives were irrational in the dispersal of their beliefs and concentrated mainly on what they saw as the most heinous violations of the old ways of living, and for that they were punished by an electorate who wanted to accept new forms of life into its own chaotic macrocosm. The right got lucky when someone of a faith other than Christianity took their teachings to a new and terrifying level.
The left, in many ways, was drowned out by the noise of patriotism in those early days after 9/11. Bipartisanship then was the order of the day, and who could blame anyone for that. The dust was still heavy with blood when the tormented population of Afghanistan began to be pelted with bombs of all kinds, deafened by the sounds of revenge. The left was lost in similar noise for a long time, and it’s up to the future leaders of a progressive society to take a stand now, take back the streets, and give themselves to the non-violent struggle for a more fair and understanding planet of tomorrow.

There are few groups in our society like the present majority of young people who have such a bitterness, perhaps even a hatred, towards either side of this social debate. Yes, young people are more likely to vote, think, and live to the left of the cultural balance. But most young people simply want a sense of order and normality to return to the world they are going to inherit, and right now one cannot blame them for remaining idle, silenced by their own insecurity as they are faced with the roaring madness of this world. For many young people, the left compromises too easily on issues integral to our sustainable existence, but fails to compromise where altruism and right-wing self-interest combine, only for the sake of saving-face.

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Raymond M. Kristiansen | Nov 2nd, 2003
regardless of where I stand on the left-right scale politically speaking, I must say that the emotionalism which spurred the US's actions after 9/11 might have some less positive effects. attacking Afghanistan was still something I am against, not because of leftist views, but because of a host of different considerations relating to geopolitics and stability - in the long term. But then the US went and invaded Iraq, and... it doesn't take to be a liberal leftist to see that the wisdom of That Can be questioned. i think the right/left terminology is a bit outdated. what do you think?

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