Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

December 03, 2004

Ledeen: the "death rattle" of the Left

Michael Ledeen writes in National Review Online (hat tip: Bob H.) that the "hysterical reaction" of the Left to Bush's re-election and the demonization of Bush and those who voted for him are the "death rattle" of the traditional Left as a dominant political force and an intellectual vision. Ledeen argues that leftists can no longer win elections absent unusual circumstances, because their ideology is "spent."

In fact, he claims, leftists were "doomed by their own success" in overthrowing the class-bound aristocracy in Europe.

In true dialectical fashion, they were doomed by their own success. As once-impoverished workers became wealthier, the concept of the proletariat became outdated, along with the very idea of class struggle. Then the manifest failure and odious tyranny of the 20th-century leftist revolutions carried out in the name of the working class — notably in Russia, China, and Cuba — undermined the appeal of the old revolutionary doctrines, no matter how desperately the Left argued that Communist tyrannies were an aberration, or a distortion of their vision.
Ledeen explains that the biggest change was "the emergence of the United States as the most powerful, productive, and creative country in the world." There was never a serious workers' movement here; there was little class hatred, either, since American workers believed they could get rich themselves. The success of America was "devastating" to the Left, which could not understand that the world had changed with the advance of America and the defeat of the Soviet Union. Ledeen also argues that because the Left couldn't understand or transform the world any longer, it "predictably lost its bearings."
It was entirely predictable that they would seek to explain their repeated defeats by claiming fraud, or dissing their own candidates, or blaming the stupidity of the electorate. Their cries of pain and rage echo those of past elites who looked forward and saw the abyss. There is no more dramatic proof of the death of the Left than the passage of its central vision — global democratic revolution — into the hands of those who call themselves conservatives.
Ledeen concludes with this line: "History has certainly not ended, but it has added a new layer to its rich compost heap."