October 15, 2003

Schizophrenic Liberalism

Here's a new liberal hawk blog called One-Sided Wonder by Anne Cunningham.

I sure can relate to this.

I use the expression "the left" advisedly; I make a distinction between between being a liberal & being leftist, considering myself to be the former. I like the word "liberal" because it has two meanings, the current American definition of supporting New Deal/Great Society-type policies, and the more old-fashioned definition of favoring limited government. Since I vacillate between these two states of mind all the time, it feels appropriate to call myself this, even though the two definitions really contradict one another.

And this.

Some of my friends are concerned by how conservative I seem these days. I supported the war, whereas many of my friends did not, & the gap has only been widening as time goes on. I love Christopher Hitchens, & my friend Christine's theory is that I turned to the right when he did, as though riding in the sidecar of his ideological motorcycle. (Picture me in goggles, scarf flapping in the wind.)

I think, however, that one difference between the majority of my friends & me is that I was largely raised by my grandparents. (The American ones.) Although they were liberals, they were 30s liberals rather than 60s liberals. My grandfather fought in World War Two. Being raised by him seems to have resulted in a more old-fashioned patriotism on my part.

Of course, the thing about Hitchens is that he didn't really turn to the right. He has been aggressively anti-fascist for a long, long time. He didn't change much. His (and our) former comrades did. They broke their solidarity with Iraqi Kurdistan and dumped the old left slogan that says Fascism Means War.

Sometimes I wonder: Do they ever feel like they are missing an arm?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2003 10:29 PM
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