Among the Intellectualoids Introspection Was the Rage
By Christopher Orlet
Liberals are old hands at apologizing for despots and dictators, but they are curiously unable to recognize and take responsibility for their own peccadillos -- such as, say, their constant need to apologize for despots and dictators. These days, however, self-criticism is all the rage. Nick Cohen started off this round of soul-searching with his book What's Left? How the Left Lost its Way. Todd Gitlin followed up with The Intellectuals and the Flag. Now Dissent editor Mitchell Cohen is asking why so many of his comrades insist on apologizing for Islamic extremism.
Cohen, who achieved a sort of Warholian notoriety for his support of the Iraq invasion, recently told the German magazine Jungleworld that he is "struck at how parts of the extreme left apologize for Islamic extremism in ways reminiscent of how an earlier generation found ways to apologize for Stalinism. The objects excused are different, but the patterns of apologetics are sadly similar. It shows that there really is something I once called 'the left that doesn't learn.'"If only the apologists were confined to the "extreme left" -- they at least would be easier to isolate, like some particularly whiny TB patient. Instead they are to be found across the spectrum, and easily identified by their persistence in blaming the U.S. for forcing al Qaeda to attack America in 2001, and Madrid in 2004, and London in 2005, etc., etc.