March 30, 2004


Ron Rosenbaum kisses the crazy Left goodbye:

Itís a goodbye thatís been brewing ever since the Really Big Idiocy, the one I encountered barely a month after Sept. 11, from a more illustrious figure on the Left, an academic Left paragon.

Itís also a long goodbye, every word of which is worth reading.

(Via reader Ted M.)

Posted by Tim Blair at March 30, 2004 01:44 AM

Great article, but it's from a year and a half ago. I hope that the author still feels that way.

Posted by: MD2020 at March 30, 2004 at 01:56 AM

Itís a cool article, dated 10/14/2002 at its page bottom. The NY Observer Website, like the Aftenposten Website, is quite deceptive in its placement of current date in a place where you expect to see article date.

Posted by: ForNow at March 30, 2004 at 01:58 AM

Whoa! Didn't see that earlier date. Still, it's so good I'll leave it as is.

Posted by: tim at March 30, 2004 at 02:15 AM

The Observer had good reason to republish this article. No need to reinvent the wheel. And the author is well respected, not a hack.

Posted by: Ted M at March 30, 2004 at 02:35 AM

Dang....Rosenbaum's first brickbat was so good that I was hoping he had written another.

Leave it up. It deserves to be read again.

Posted by: Jeffersonian at March 30, 2004 at 03:57 AM

Roger Simon just linked to it too, and also missed that it's eighteen months old. Its timeless timeliness is a sad indicator that nothing ever changes for the left.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 30, 2004 at 03:57 AM

Rosenbaum makes one mistake out of sheer habit.
He equates the right's failure to come to terms with its negligence on racial matters with the left's failure to come to terms with its support of tyrannies.
Two problems. One is the assertion that the right was any more negligent than the left. A higher proportion of republicans voted for the civil rights bills than did democrats. Dems in Congress didn't want to disturb the dems in the states who were fighting against civil rights.
The other is that it's HISTORY.
The left has the history Rosenbaum mentions, but its support of tyrannies is also current events.
There's a difference.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at March 30, 2004 at 04:17 AM

Apparently Rosenbaum missed the debate between Robert Conquest and Hitchens
( from March of 2000 in which Hitchens argued, unpersuasively in my opinion, that the misdeeds committed in the name of communism were less foul than those committed by fascism. The debate is interesting because in it we see Hitchens at a time when he was still clutching to rightness of his trotskyist ideology.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at March 30, 2004 at 05:12 AM

I missed it first time 'round, so thanks.

Posted by: Andrew at March 30, 2004 at 07:17 AM

I'd like to see it printed out on very stiff paper, rolled up and a copy shoved down the throat of every lefty idiot present at the next anti-American protest rally.
That'd buy a few moments of "peace"

Posted by: Keith at March 30, 2004 at 07:59 AM

There's so many stories out there like this ...

Who was it who first said (words to the effect that) if you are not a socialist when you are young, you have no heart ... but if you don't quickly grow out of it, you have no brain? It's a comforting thought for many ex-lefties who woke up to themselves, like me.

Ron Rosenbaum says: "Before I get into the two idiocies that tipped the scale for me, I want to make clear that saying goodbye to idiocies on the Left doesnít mean becoming a conservative, neo- or otherwise." Give it time, Ron, give it time! If you have the courage to systematically re-examine all of your dearly-held and cherished beliefs (aka delusions), you never know what you might end up calling yourself. Maybe even not any convenient category at all.

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at March 30, 2004 at 08:25 AM

I agree with the theme of the piece, but both Mr. Rosenbaum and Mr. Lang misunderstand Heidegger's position. I comment on that in my blog if you are interested in that aspect of philosophy and the XXth c.

Posted by: Pete at March 30, 2004 at 09:32 AM

Read Paul McGeogh in the SMH of 30 March 2004, and then reflect on this quote from Rosenbaum:

"Sept. 11 reminds them that Americans are first and foremost murderers, so letís not spend a moment acknowledging that little matter of Sept. 11 being a day on which 3,000 Americans were murdered by the "pure-hearted killers" of Al Qaeda. Who, when not committing mass murder, stone women as punishment, torture gays, crush free thought by executing dissidents. No, they get a pass (and the 3,000 become non-persons). Because they hate America, they must be for liberation, and so we canít blame them; we must accuse ourselves of being killers".

Posted by: The Mongrel at March 30, 2004 at 09:54 AM

Ummm, the KKK was a Democratic organization.

Posted by: MonkeyPants at March 30, 2004 at 11:20 AM

Have all the high-profile "defections" in ideology been away from the Left, or are there examples of Right -> Left, eg in the last decade?
(Local basket-case Robert Manne excepted)

Posted by: max power at March 30, 2004 at 01:31 PM


I think you're confusing right/left with Republicans/Democrats. George Wallace & Strom Thurmond were Democrats -- but that didn't make them liberals. Both parties were odd hodge-podges back then. (As an aside, Harry Turtledove, in one of his best alternate histories, _How Few Remain_ took Lincoln's own writings and showed how he could have plausibly moved towards Socialism..)


Posted by: Ted at March 30, 2004 at 02:45 PM

Barry Goldwater might be described as a guy who moved from the right during his political career to a more liberal position, particularly in terms of social and cultural issues, in his later years.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at March 30, 2004 at 03:59 PM

Goldwater moved from rightwing conservativism on social issues to a more libertarian perspective. That's NOT the same as a leftist perspective. Both leftists and rightists tend to hate libertarians, but for different reasons.

Posted by: Jean-Luc Bidet at March 30, 2004 at 05:22 PM

Monsieur Bidet, good point! I have no idea where Goldwater ended up on economic issues.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at March 31, 2004 at 12:19 AM

Typical leftist. Eighty years of communist atrocities didn't bother him, but a movie review and a cocktail party comment really pissed him off.

Posted by: Bob Kingsbery at March 31, 2004 at 12:26 AM

Flash! Bloghead cuts and pastes article from 18 months ago! Read all about it! Again.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at March 31, 2004 at 11:20 AM

You did.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 31, 2004 at 01:23 PM

As an admirer of the Steve McQueen school of acting (i.e. fewer words are better), I am always amazed by anyone whose ideas are so convoluted that they can't be expressed in a few short sentences, but require paragraph after paragraph. Mr. Rosenbaum's piece pretty much has the feel that all those old words take an awful long time to erase.

Posted by: J_Crater at April 1, 2004 at 02:54 AM