On War #163
A Left-Right Anti-war Alliance?
By William S. Lind
One of the more amusing aspects of the debacle in Iraq has been the performance of the anti-war Left. Far from “mobilizing the masses for peace,” it has had about as much impact as a slingshot on a Kaiser-class dreadnought. Seldom does it amount to more than a few aging hippies trying to relive their youth by resurrecting the Vietnam-era anti-war movement. Their attempts recall Marx’s comment that history occurs as tragedy, then repeats itself as farce.
In response to this failure, a few voices from both the Left and the Right are suggesting an anti-war alliance. Given its impotence to date – nowhere more evident than in Congress, where few Democrats dare call for a withdrawal from Iraq – it is not clear exactly what the Left would bring to the table. The strongest and most thoughtful voices against the Iraq War have come from real (as opposed to neo-con) conservatives, starting well before the war began. Further, because the Right is President Bush’s base, conservative anti-war voices have more political meaning than do those on the Left, which will never vote Republican under any circumstances.
Let us say, nonetheless, that such an alliance is worth exploring. It is unlikely to get us out of Iraq before the roof there falls in, but it just might manage to obstruct the next act in the neo-cons’ play, a war with Iran. If it could be kept out of the hands of the crazies, it might also give some encouragement to Members of Congress of both parties who, at least behind closed doors, realize that the whole “American Empire” madness is leading the country to destruction. Abandoning that strategy and returning to a policy of prudence should be the strategic goal of any serious “anti-war” effort, and it might also be a point on which Left and Right could agree.
But what about the many other matters on which conservatives and the Left cannot agree? In an article in The American Conservative advocating a Left-Right anti-war alliance, “Grand Coalition,” Neil Clark writes,
That’s fine as far as it goes, especially since it means the Left will have to breathe my pipe-smoke. Unfortunately, it ignores the elephant in the parlor, namely Political Correctness. To the Left, anyone who dares contradict the dictates of the cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School, which is what Political Correctness and “multi-culturalism” really are, is not just wrong. They are evil, “another Hitler.”
So let me put some questions to those on the Left who advocate a “Grand Coalition” against more wars in pursuit of American Empire: Are you prepared to work with people who
Insist not only on believing all these things, and more like them, but also on expressing their beliefs publicly, as representing what is right, true and good?
Frankly, I doubt the culturally Marxist Left can accept any of this. To do so, it would have to acknowledge that its ideology is an ideology and not objective reality. In other words, those who argue that truth is relative would have to accept that their truths are relative, too.
For my part, as a conservative, I am willing to participate in a Grand Coalition against imperial folly even with cultural Marxists; if they want to believe the Frankfurt School crap, more the fools they. But I will do so puffing my pipe and reading Mencken as a frolicsome Irish serving wench makes sure my glass stays full. The Politically Correct Left can put that in their pipes, but if they try to smoke it, I suspect they will turn a delightful shade of green.
William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation
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