More circle dancing
Michael Totten has drawn our attention in this post to an article by James Wolcott. Totten writes that Wolcott is beating up on liberal hawks (he singles out Roger L. Simon in particular) for making common cause with conservatives by supporting the Terror War.
Not a surprise, not in the least. Nor is the particularly vicious tone of the Wolcott article. I've written many times before about the phenomenon of the left turning on its apostates with a vengeance, both
here as well as in most of my posts about David Horowitz's Radical Son.
As I wrote in Totten's comments, there's something extraordinarily mean-spirited and small in Wolcott's article. Instead of just saying that he himself thinks the liberal social and domestic agenda that people such as Roger may still aspire to is being compromised by their supporting Bush, Wolcott is especially snide and supercilious.
Wolcott seems to think that Simon and others of his ilk are clinging desperately to the notion of themselves as social liberals because, clearly, that's the only way to keep their self-respect. He wants to take them down a peg or two--or three or four or more. He seems to think the only shreds of self-respect they have left are the remnants of the liberalism they retain, and he wants to tear even those last shreds from them.
I don't think Wolcott can even conceive of a sane person being proud of a conservative point of view--to him, the only good people are liberals, and if Simon and others are no longer totally liberal, then they no longer can stake any claim to being at all good. Liberalism is an all-or-nothing proposition for Wolcott, and he is intent on drumming out of the fold those who don't buy the entire package as Wolcott defines it.
This is the type of thing I'm talking about, from Wolcott's article:
...no doubt futile effort to educate Roger L. Simon in the finer points of not making a fool of himself in the future....
...with every corpuscle of your tired body you've made common cause with Republican conservatives, neoconservatives, and Christian fundamentalists who are dedicated to destroying those parcels of liberalism on which you stake your tiny claims of pride.
Once again, I'll let one of my favorite writers, Milan Kundera, have the last word. Here's a relevant excerpt from his wonderful Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1978), about that circle dance which Wolcott is currently so angry at the Roger Simons of the world for leaving:
I too once danced in a ring. It was in the spring of 1948, the Communists had just taken power in my country, the Socialist and Christian Democrat ministers had fled abroad, and I took other Communist students by the hand, I put my arms around their shoulders...
...just about every month there [was] something to celebrate, an anniversary here, a special event there, old wrongs were righted, new wrongs perpetrated, factories were being nationalized, thousands of people went to jail, medical care became free of charge, small shopkeepers lost their shops, aged workers took their first vacations ever in confiscated country houses, and we smiled the smile of happiness. Then one day I said something I would better have left unsaid. I was expelled from the Party and had to leave the circle.
That was when I became aware of the magic properties of a circle. Leave a row and you can always go back to it. But once a circle closes, there is no return. It is no accident that the planets move in a circle and when a stone breaks loose from one of them it is drawn inexorably away by centrifugal force. Like a meteorite broken loose from a planet, I too fell from the circle and have been falling ever since.