I started reading “What’s Left?: How the Left Lost its Way: How Liberals Lost Their Way” by British political commentator Nick Cohen, in which he argues that the Left has lost its identity, criticising Imperialistic policies while turning a blind eye to the evils of Islamic totalitarian regimes.
Nine years after its publication, Cohen still believes what he wrote. But he misses a basic fact: the West is not turning a blind eye to Islamic totalitarian regimes, it is arming and funding them. It is the secular states by and large that the West is trying to destroy through their use of Islamic proxies such as Al-Nusra, Al-Sham, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Free Syrian Army.
But according to Cohen, everyone is a fascist, from George Galloway to Noam Chomsky to even the London Review of Books.
The fact that Cohen clearly does not understand the difference between fascism, socialism and liberalism ought to automatically disqualify any serious individual from giving consideration to his views.
I am familiar with Mr. Cohen, a man who still believes the war in Iraq was a good thing. The one living person in the world who thinks the same is Tony Blair: the other was Ahmed Chalabi. The former evil, the other greedy and super dodgy, so Cohen, I have concluded must be deluded.
I simply cannot believe that anyone with a brain and a conscience could still believe the war in Iraq was in any shape or form justifiable.
Therefore, I feel a more pertinent argument would be why the West is unable to empathise with killings and tragedies occurring beyond America, Israel and Europe? The answer is lengthy and complicated, but let us state the obvious for now: because it cannot afford to.
While the late Tony Benn, a fervent anti-war advocate was considered “radical” and “eccentric”, war-enthusiast Nick Cohen, who Benn described as “a right winger pretending to be left”, is considered the forefront political commentator in Britain, an intelligent and rational voice.
How so? His is a cowardly and outwardly aggressive voice; he is sensitive only to himself and his kind – the kind who can stretch their sympathy to Paris and Nice whilst denying the Iraqi and Syrian realities. Cry Cohen preaches to a public who are all too happy to have their cozy views and feelings vindicated to justify their own uneventful lives, their lack of moral courage and understanding of the wider world.
Whilst leftists like Benn opposed all forms of war and imperialism, the West continues to fund Islamic terror to destroy secular regimes and slaughter civilians all the while lying to the public who are afraid of Islamic terror, but know and care little about Nasserism or Ba’athism.
A diplomatic friend told me about a dinner he once had with Mr. Benn some years back and I couldn’t help noticing that there was more than just a hint of condescension as he spoke of Benn’s “radical” views, notwithstanding he was “great fun and very amusing”. One might have been forgiven to assume Benn was some small time dotty MEP rather than a great mind, kind soul and a maverick. The Bilderberg set and the media may have sneered at Benn, but hardly anyone is laughing now.
While on the one hand we have a self-absorbed, deluded public, on the other we have the hysterical sympathisers led by, in the words of Charles Dickens “Telescopic Philanthropists”.
Dickens was scathing of this trend as it’s clearly demonstrable in his 1852 masterpiece “Bleak House” in which the character Mrs Jellyby’s defining feature is her obsession with helping an African tribe through a variety of means, including sending red flannels to African ladies to cover their modesty. She would do all this while being abominable to her own family.
But tax breaks are more attractive than emotional contemplation.
Such people cannot resolve the world’s problems. On the contrary by attempting to do so, they exacerbate those already at home and create brand new ones.
It is useless to try and explain this to the kindly celebrities of today who compete with one another for the Mrs. Jellyby Crown, while the likes of Cohen continue to desensitise and feed an already desensitised and brainwashed public.
Liberal interventionism is not a cause, but a wider symptom of a Western malaise that seeks to re-order the world around ideas which have failed in their own place of creation. Cohen is not the specific issue.
The problem is that people listen to him. He allows his audience to feel they’ve been morally self-righteous whilst remaining part of an establishment which does little for them other than let them buy things on Amazon, enjoy Starbucks – whose business methods are unethical to say the least – and so on.
He allows them to live mundane lives where they can say “I believe in fair trade” meanwhile they don’t care about the actual deaths in Syria and Iraq. He’s essentially a safety net, a sort of “get out of moral jail free card” for such people who can feel they are being intellectual, radical, and conscientious when all they are really doing is toeing the establishment line.
Saying ‘We’re going to be the good liberals’ sounds better than “We’re going to be the new imperialists”. Ultimately it’s the same thing.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.