No more Right and Left
This is an important article in Greater Surbiton
The Left-Right conflict has been essentially resolved through the establishment of a centrist model of welfare capitalism, one that takes a slightly different form in each country (the US model being somewhat to the right of the West European model). Those who continue to talk about abolishing either capitalism or the welfare state are the political equivalent of flat-earthers.
...The triumph of the centrist political model has led to one section of the Left and one section of the Right breaking away from their respective comrades and joining up in opposition to this model: this ultimately takes the form of a Red-Brown coalition. Conversely, a second section of the Left and a second section of the Right have likewise broken away from the first sections and come together in support of extending this model globally. This, then, is the principal ideological division in global politics today: pro-Western vs anti-Western; globalist vs anti-globalist; the democratic centre vs the Red-Brown coalition.
...The essence of the division is that the pro-Westerners support the extension of the liberal-democratic order across the globe, through the politics of human rights, promotion of democracy, universal values and interventionism (not necessarily always military). The anti-Westerners oppose the liberal-democratic model, at least as a universal model; they admire or support movements or regimes that stand in opposition to the Western alliance or to Western values - all of which uphold religious fundamentalism or nativist nationalism, sometimes combined with a ’socialist’ veneer, as an alternative to liberal democracy. Anti-Westerners may support military intervention for reasons of ‘national interest’ or religious sectarianism - whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu or other - but never for the sake of liberty or ‘Western values’; never for the sake of halting genocide or overthrowing tyranny. They may masquerade as ‘anti-imperialists’, but what they oppose is ultimately not the domination of smaller nations by more powerful ones. Hence they refuse to show solidarity with the people of Tibet, Darfur, Bosnia, etc. By which I don’t simply mean they do nothing - few of us can boast that we’ve actively ’shown solidarity’ with all the just causes in the world - but that they oppose the idea of such solidarity in principle. Read it all here.
Ignoblus picks on the Surbiton re-definitions to flash a light on how:
Over the last 35 years, a steady anti-Americanism and an uncompromising anti-Zionism which surely not always but most definitely occasionally borders on the anti-Semitic, have become key characteristics that both divide and determine political identity absolutely. They are "wedge issues" - clear articles of faith or "dealbreakers" -- whose importance overshadows, and even negates, many related components of the "clusters" that characterize such an identity.
Later in the article he says:
Antisemitism acted as a cultural code as political lines shifted. The left and right moved about, exemplified best by Wilhelm Marr's transition from the liberal left to the reactionary right. Marr was the godfather of antisemitism, responsible even for popoularizing the term antisemitism (often even credited as having coined the term) and for forming the League of Antisemites. His pamphlets "The Victory of Jewishness over German-ness" and "The Way to Victory for German-ness over Jewishness" were significant in the formation of the German antisemitism that ultimately led to the Holocaust. I tried to describe some of what happened here. As a cultural code, antisemitism was often able to disguise itself as something else, eg. a critique of capitalism or a critique of communism. Often it was scapegoating modernity. What grew most visibly between 1879 and 1938 was not so much hatred of Jews, but the centrality of the Jewish Question in German politics.
Today, as is evident from Markovits, anti-Zionism is acting as that same sort of cultural code. It is being used to establish new political lines, the old ones shaken up by globalization and postmodernism. The old leftists are joining forces with political reactionaries and authoritarians, mostly "oppressed" authoritarians but also some Western racists in thin disguises. Many of the arguments surrounding it are the same as in pre-Nazi Germany. Just as today people argue over the "New Antisemitism," then they argued over whether antisemitism was different from the old, disrespected Judenhass.
In my blog, I have often pointed out how these tectonic shifts are manifested, through any number of related, and seemingly unrelated, topics. Those who are dismissive of far left antisemitism as an impossibility, should be able to recognize themselves in the sort of 'causes' they do espouse; what first thought gets triggered in their mind when they refer to, for example, Reverend Wright, or Joe Lieberman, or Alan Dershowitz, or Jimmy Carter, or Arch Tutu? Or when issues which have nothing whatsoever to do with Jews or even Israel are adjudged crudely: good for the Jews (and/or Israel)- bad, bad for the Jews - good?
Such people are in danger of finding themselves comfortable in the historical society of someone like Wilhelm Marr, mentioned in the article.
But of course innate racists and antisemites are quite immune from such self-recognition. Which is why they often resort to lies and manufactured tales in order to maintain their self-respect. The closer they get to recognizing the ugliness of Dorian Grey's aged portrait, the greater are the efforts to cast about wildly for straw man arguments. I find this rhetorical technique very popular with representatives of those genuine phonies of the Far Left.
A straw man argument is a rhetorical fallacy, based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw man argument" is to describe a position that ostensibly resembles an opponent's actual view but is easier to dismiss, or debunk, then attribute that position to the opponent. For example, deliberately overstating the opponent's position. A straw man argument can work as a successful rhetorical technique only as far as, and as long as, the knowledge and awareness of the receptive audience remain limited, uncritical, and secure from verification. It may succeed in persuading people, or rather, re-enforcing positions for which the audience is a-priorily inclined, but it carries little or no real evidential weight, because the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.
The straw man argument is, in fact, a lie. People who readily believe lies should be prepared to be held accountable when these lies breed their evil, as always defamation and lies do, when an accumulation of such lies reaches the critical mass that would lead to such consequences as Ignoblus points to in his article.