Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Far be it from the folks at the Village Voice to grasp a fairly simple fact: today's Left is just plain intellectually bankrupt. In Goldstein's view, the so-called "neohawks" like Christopher Hitchens, Ron Rosenbaum, and (I was surprised to learn) Griel Marcus, are acting out of a sense of repression:

For one thing, there's a real temptation to leave the chronic depression and ample masochism of the left behind. The war on terror can seem like an opening to build a muscular new progressivism with its feet on the ground. And speaking of feet, there's an undeniable satisfaction in kicking a masochist while he's down. Among the many rewards for sadism these days is the power it confers—and for progressives power is in terribly short supply. Finally, never underestimate the appeal to a critic of being taken seriously, and that means declaring your independence from left-wing "orthodoxies."

Following this cheap psychoanalysis, Goldstein concludes his piece by preaching that 9-11 did produce a new situation, but it makes a very old demand on us: to comprehend the world's complexity. That's something the neohawks have yet to demonstrate.

Yes, yes, by all means -- let's comprehend and comprehend. Let's pay obeisance to complexity. By all means, let us refrain from making any kind of a move, enter into any kind of decisive action. Now is the time for ... think tanks! Committees! Study groups! Silent vigils! In other words, just the kind of impotent reaction that seems so completely out of touch with dealing with terrorism.

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