My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Monday, February 19, 2007

Buy this book immediately!

Nick Cohen is a British journalist who has just written a tour de force called, "What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way".

I couldn't put this book down. Cohen is furious at the left - furious that they have not supported the Iraqi people, furious that identity politics have betrayed the working class, furious that the left supports anything that is against Bush and the United Stated, furious at the new anti-semitism amongst the left, furious at organizations like Amnesty International....etc and etc.

Now, I should say up front that Cohen is no conservative. He was not a supporter of the war in Iraq, and doesn't think highly of George Bush. He has written extensively about his dislike of Tony Blair. Fair enough. But, Cohen has some principles, and he cares deeply about the working class and believs in helping working people everywhere. You know, if more liberals thought like Cohen, I might just become one.

I like people who rock the boat. And, Cohen does just that. He also makes me think back to when I was a socialist. I used to rail on about Ronald Reagan and his acceptance of dictators around the world. Well, the world has changed and George Bush isn't trying to replace dictators with other dictators.

And, like someone who is honest, Cohen recognizes that. But for most of the left, if you oppose Bush, no matter how vile, you're ok.

Here's one quick excerpt from his chapter, "The Liberals Go Berserk."
When a war came to overthrow him [Saddam Hussein] came, the liberals had two choices,. The first was to oppose the war, remain hypercritical of aspects of the Bush administration's policy, but support Iraqis as they struggled to establish a democracy.

The policy of not leaving Iraqis stranded was so clearly the only moral option, it never occurred to me that there could be another choice. I dhad have an eminent liberal specialist on foreign policy tell me that "we're just going to have to forget about Saddam's victims', but I thought he was shooting his mouth off in the heat of the moment. From the point of view of the liberals, the only ground they would have to concede if they had stuck by their principles in Iraq would have been an acknowledgement that the way had a degree of legitimacy. They would have still ben able to say it was catastrophically mismanaged, a provocation to al-Qaeda and all the rest of it. They would have still been able to condemn atrocities by American troops, Guantanamo Bay, and Bush's pushing of the boundaries of torture. They might have usefully have linked up with like-minded Iraqis, who wanted international support to fight against the American insistence on privatization of industries, for instance. All they would have had to accept was that th attempt to build a better Iraq was worthwhile and one to which they could and should make a positive commitment.

A small price to pay; a price all their liberal principles insisted they had a duty to pay. Or so it seemed.

The second choice for the liberals was to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. To look at the Iraqi civilians and the British and American troops who were dying in a war whose central premise had proved to be false, and to go berserk; to allow justifiable anger to propel them into 'binges of posturing and ultra-radicalism' as the Sixties liberals had done when they went off the rails. As one critic characterized the position, they would have to pretend that 'the United States was THE problem and Iraq as its problem.' They would have to maintain that the war was not an attempt to break the power of tyranny in a benighted region, but the bloody result of a 'financially driven mania to control Middle Eastern oil, and the faith-driven crusade the batter the crescent with the cross.'

They chose to go berserk.
The book is full of great stuff to quote. I plan to give this book to several of my liberal friends - but I am sure they will see it as conservative propaganda. But it isn't. Cohen has stayed true to his principles - and I hope his book is widely read.


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