July 30, 2003

Another Left Hawk

Norman Geras has already been linked by Andrew Sullivan so he hardly needs any help from me. But in case you missed the plug, I'll second it.

Norman is on the right side in the terror war, and I don't mean "right" as in "conservative." He isn't a liberal, either. He's a leftist.

(I still promise that one of these days I'll write a nice long essay explaining what I see as the differences between "liberal" and "leftist." Suffice it to say for now that Norman seems to be part of the Old Left, not the New Left.)

See especially his essay titled The War in Iraq.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2003 01:36 AM

I agree with your distinction between 'left' and 'liberal'.

Liberals, in my book, are not as 'bad' as lefties. I generally associate individual ideals and a bigger government which tends to provide more freebies for those who are more lazy and less responsible. Not much 'danger' here, yet I prefer my government to stay out of my personal life as much as feasibly possible. Of course safety will take its toll, especially now in our post 9/11 era... but I can endure this phase of our nation's growth.

I associate anti-capitalists, moral-anarchists, socialists, early Commie left-overs, multiculturalists, and obsessed athiests with the left. These are the people who are trying to take apart our government bit by bit. These are the ones who actively seek members to spread their 'word'.

Either way, it's like saying 'conservative' and 'right' are one in the same, when they're obviously not.

We can group these different sectors very broadly - Dems/Libs/Lefties or GOPs/Conserves/Righties - but we should never assume their views are all the same...


Posted by: Pat at July 30, 2003 05:06 AM


Norman has been all the talk of the web over the last 24 hours or so. The Left, of the Liberal or Leftist variety, is badly in need of the fresh air. His Marxism is tempered by a huge dose of reality and basic humanity. Aside from the piece on Iraq, the "Eye of the Norm" link on his page(http://info.bris.ac.uk/~plcdib/imprints/normangerasinterview.html) gives a good insight into his thinking.

If he's a Marxist, then so am I, but only in the Keynesian sense that We are all Marxists now.

I look forward to reading your piece on the difference between leftists and liberals.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at July 30, 2003 07:10 AM

Thanks for showing me that the left (broadly defined) has some redeeming characters. I was beginning to wonder...

Posted by: spc67 at July 30, 2003 07:24 AM

I think you had better get your "liberal vs leftist" essay right.

Something tells me a lot of people will be reading it. As a staunch conservative who understands the inherent need for an intelligent opposition side, I have been totally dismayed at the unraveling of the Democratic party. Your form of compassionate, reasoned and reasonable liberalism is desperately needed but is sorely lacking. Perhaps that essay will bring a few people to their senses.

Posted by: Roark at July 30, 2003 07:44 AM

I am curious to see his site. It's sad that I used to be so partisan and right-wing just a few eyars ago. Granted, I would still be on the conservative side, but I am gal dto say my mind has opened to new ideas and two of my daily reads could both be considered liberal.

As for defying conventional stereotypes, I have a friend who is a homosexual, as well as a socialist and a Christian fundamentalist. Of course, I'm waiting to meet an anarcho-fascist. That should be an amusing philosophy, unless it ever gains momentum, then it may prove very scary.

Posted by: Green Baron at July 30, 2003 08:01 AM

"Old left," as in "Eugene V. Debs?"

How would you classify me, Mike?

I wholeheartedly supported our war in Afghanistan, and in fact criticized Bush for using "rent-a-troops" instead of our own soldiers to bottle up Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.

I am a strong supporter of Israel...NOT Ariel Sharon and the Likud wackos.

I opposed the war with Iraq on PRACTICAL and STRATEGIC grounds. Not ideological ones.

I thought it would take assets away from the war with the people who actually attacked us and posed a REAL threat to us, in order to settle an old Bush family score, and make Dick Chenety's oil industry buddies cream their pants.

Oh...and to make the Likudnik wackos at the American Enterprise Institute act like boby-soxers at an Elvis concert.

Fact: "Liberals" who support the war in Iraq, and paranoid nutcases who think "supporting Israel" means supporting counterproductinve and criminal acts by the Sharon Government.

Then...there's people like Chris Hitchens, who seems to adopt whatever contrarian posistion they can that will keep him swimming in Scotch and elegant dinner parties.

And don't give me the disingenuous crap about how you supported this war to "help" the Iraqi people.

You and I both know that's a load of bullshit.

You never cared about the Iraqi people...and STILL don't care about the Iraqi people.

You are just PRETENDING to care to be able to make moralizing attacks on those who opposed the war.

Posted by: Hesiod at July 30, 2003 09:10 AM

Hesiod, perhaps you'd care to give us a precis of your strategic and practical concerns. What I've read of your site indicates that those concerns are not your real reasons, but I'd love to see what you have to say in summary.

Posted by: Phil Smith at July 30, 2003 09:45 AM

I opposed the war with Iraq on PRACTICAL and STRATEGIC grounds. Not ideological ones.

Ahahahahahah. Do you seriously believe that, hesiod? You hate Bush and that is the basis of every argument you present. Come on, at least admit that. You wouldn't want to be a liar, like Bush, would you?

Posted by: Court at July 30, 2003 09:58 AM

A little OT (esp. given Hesiod's rant) but it always struck me as creepily funny, or just creepy, that Stalinist-leftist and Robertsen/Falwell 700 Club conservatives both fell immediately into the we-brought-this-on-ourselves-because-of-our-moral-failure bucket, only disagreeing on which morals we had failed.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at July 30, 2003 12:06 PM

Hesiod's rant falls nicely in line and is easily explained. He recentally demanded an apology when he was put forward as one of the left who "sneered" at news of the Hussein brothers death - and "sneer" he did.

No wonder he is trolling. He is still mad.

Posted by: Roark at July 30, 2003 12:19 PM

In case you folks are not familiar with Court, he was a regular commentor on my board, back when I was filing post after post about my practical and strategic reasons for opposing the Iraq war...last year.

So...not only is he wrong on substance, he's lying as well.

Anyone who's interested, can go read what I had to say...a YEAR ago about the Iraq war.

My arguments have not only proven basically CORRECT, they've actually been bolstered by subsequent events.

I actually was conned into believing, like most other people, that Saddam really DID have weapons of mass destruction ready to be deployed and used.

Shame on me for not taking the serious contemporanous evidence that Bush was bullshitting us on that point seriously, huh?

At least I was opposed to the war on other grounds, though.

So, on that note, I guess you HAVE to pretend you actually care about the Iraqi people.

Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to sleep at night, and would be kicking yourselves for beig such credulous suckers.

Posted by: Hesiod at July 30, 2003 12:24 PM

Roark, of course, is repeating the lie that I "sneered" at the news of the Hussein Bros. detahs.


I expressed skepticism on the TIMING of their deaths.

I think the "sneering" you are talking about was the McCarthyite sleazeball reaction from the pro-war crowd who tried to conflate mine, and other reactions into actual sadness that they were killed.

Michael actually had to post my e-mail asking for his apology to clear up that little misconception.

But, as I predicted in my fllow-up e-mail(that he never posted), some people [ie. Roark] didn't get the message.

Posted by: Hesiod at July 30, 2003 12:29 PM

Wow Hesiod, I didn't think you actually believed yourself. Why can't you even admit you hate Bush? It's your right to do so, but at least fess up to it.

Objectivness like:
Saturday, December 07, 2002:
"DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YA WHERE THE GOOD LORD DONE SPLIT YA: Chickenshit Dubyah had Dick Cheney tell Paul O'Neill that he was canned."

Thursday, December 05, 2002:
Or how you believed Bush back then:
SOLID AS IRAQ: Dubyah claims that he has "solid evidence" that Iraq is hiding "weapons of mass destruction." And, here's the obligatory spin from Ari:"The president of the United States and the secretary of Defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it . . .The Iraqi government has proved time and time again to deceive, to mislead and to lie."

Friday, January 10, 2003:
DESPERATION SETS IN: The Bush administration now claims that Navy Pilot, Scott Speicher, who was shot down, and went missing in action during the first Gulf War, is still alive and being held by the Iraqis.

The officials could not say how reliable the reports are or whether they represent "circular reporting" — new reports based on old intelligence information from the same source or similar sources.

In other words, don't be surpried if we start reading "reports" that Iraq is chucking babies out of incubators again.

Do you honestly think of yourself as some sort of non-partisan person who looked at the debate on war rationally? Hesiod, you are the epitomy of partisan hate. You hate Bush and that is why you didn't support the war. Why don't you admit it? Why are you ashamed of it? At least here anyway. You always seemed so proud of it on your site.

What about your insistance on calling anyone who disagreed with you the "Bush Feyadeen"? Is that a rational and stragetic objection to the war? No, that is what you do best. Pander to your radically left-wing audience. Which is why you are a joke outside your own little blogtopia. You have no credibilty because you are not rational. You hate.

So why do you deny it? Even a glance at your site will show your hate. At least be proud of it.

Posted by: Court at July 30, 2003 12:51 PM

"Roark, of course, is repeating the lie that I "sneered" at the news of the Hussein Bros. detahs."

Actually, I read your stuff. I am not "repeating" anything, but to write me off as such is awfully convenient.

You were giddy. Their deaths gave you another wedge to hurl invective at the U.S. Govt and President Bust specifically. Your reaction, while only one single isolated case, was indicative of the moonbat loonies on DU and Indymedia - as well as the number of extremist left posters who mirror their motives. Totten used your post as a representative picture of your political side's reaction to the death of two mass murderers. It was a good picture. The fact that you then accused him of calling you someone who "supported mass murderers" in the email he posted showed your extremist views on the subject.

You were not questioning the timing. You were not questioning anything. You were mourning. And you were angry because the war you have penned so many of your political beliefs around opposing happened anyway and turned out to be a damn good thing.

But nothing more should be expected from someone like you. The reason I read Totten is because he is reasonable and rational, two traits I detected nowhere in your blog. I may disagree with Totten, but he makes you think. You, on the other hand, just engage my gag reflex.

Posted by: Roark at July 30, 2003 05:26 PM

Hey, I've been following this Norman fellow's blog. Today he's beating up on the BBC and the Guardian (which he still refers to curiously as his "newspaper of choice"). It's virtually Sullivanesque. The guy is definitely in transition to somewhere.

Michael's piece on leftists and liberals better be good (and I'm sure he's feeling the pressure of all of our inflated expectations).

No sneering intended.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at July 31, 2003 05:02 PM


Thank you for your viewpoint and excellent work to date. I look forward to your piece differentiating between liberals and leftists. In my view the left's existence resembles 'The Night of the Living Dead' (or perhaps the Bruce Willis character in 'Sixth Sense'). There is a great need for a liberal viewpoint able to cogently articulate positions in a sensible manner without resorting to ad hominem invective. The fact that Hesiod does not seem to realize that he has become a Chomskyite parody of the 'Left' is indicative of the divde between leftists and liberals.

Go for it and bon chance.

Posted by: RDB at July 31, 2003 09:33 PM

Aren't you glad you now have a comment section, Michael? snrk

Posted by: Yehudit at July 31, 2003 11:52 PM

Functionally, the term "liberals" is certainly going to be the moniker applied to the thought-degenerates who cry "Bush lied" as though this mantra or chant is going to make terrorists disappear. [This is getting seriously or perversely humorous.] I don't know what else to call these people, and, literally just today, I gave up and decided that the term "liberal" applies, hoping to the last I could call them leftists, but they are not even that. The situation is worse. "Liberals" has use because it characterizes the way self-described liberals think on all issues, as they have for some time: for example, politically and economically, as well as in regard to the way these people view the human being, they are Marxist, thus irrational. Self-described liberals are now racist, sexist, and generally bigoted, even showing an apparently inevitable anti-semitism, and thus irrational on this count. The Jews are to blame, as usual. Education has become social promotion or indoctrination, thus for liberals education does not exist. Science has likewise ceased to exist and is now only "political" science. History does not exist, but is only "subjective" thus meaningless. Civil rights are wonderful, but only my idea of correct civil rights, thus eliminating in glaring fashion the right of self-defense. The human being is but a pawn awaiting imprinting of correct thought and speech. Free-thought therefore does not exist, but is rather only incorrect thought. Most of all the liberal desires control for control's sake, and the new liberal self is control itself. It is desparate and fearful. The sky is always falling. I had to abandon the term "liberal" in about 1990, because the definition had changed. I "couldn't take it anymore." It no longer described a method of thought which applied rationality to issues based on human ideals. I don't know why non-liberals were able to take over the term, but they were, and it happened. The replacement of old liberals with controllists having no other goal except their own sub-human aggrandizement [not to disparage the animals] has now produced a head, focused or precipitated by the terrorists' attack and continued threat, which has revealed new liberals as a group of dangerously deranged entities characterized by thought chaos and some kind of death wish. This does not apply to you, Totten, or to anyone who reads this. Unfortuneately Republicans are the only alternative. But we do have to survive. Fortuneately and surprisingly Bush & Co. are up to this challenge. The new liberal is a functional terrorist, because s/he does not believe in anything, especially life and the human potential, thus virtually replicating the terrorist mentality. All these are actually afraid of life.

Posted by: Joe Peden at August 1, 2003 12:56 AM


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