Dancing With Devils

[This article is reprinted from the National Observer.]

One of the great unresolved questions of recent history is why so many members of the Western left have become so besotted with, and apologetic for, ruthless totalitarian regimes. There have always been Western leftists who have idolised brutal regimes — be it the Soviet Union, communist Cuba or Islamist Iran —and preferred them to their own countries in the free and prosperous West.

Others have documented this phenomenon, such as Paul Hollander in various classic works, including Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China and Cuba, 1928-78 (1981) and Anti-Americanism (1995).

Here, in his recent book United in Hate, Jamie Glazov makes an attempt at exploring and explaining the Left’s love affair with terror and tyranny.

Glazov is very well qualified to do so, and not only because he has a PhD in history, specialising in US and Russian foreign policy. His personal story contributes much to this book. His parents were Soviet dissidents who fought against communist tyranny and oppression.

They managed to escape to the US in 1972. Their initial taste of glorious freedom was soon soured when they learned that there were Western academics and intellectuals who actually hated them and the message they had to share. These Western apologists for Soviet murder and genocide wanted nothing to do with the Glazovs, and sought to denounce and demonise them in the strongest terms.

Back in the Soviet Union they had risked their lives to campaign for the millions who were being tortured and killed in the Gulag slave labour camps and psychiatric hospitals simply because of their political and religious beliefs. Yet in America they were being viciously attacked by an intelligentsia that loathed America while idolising communist barbarism.

It was a shock the young Glazov never really recovered from, and here he seeks to assess and understand this most bizarre feature of Western life. And with the onset of militant Islam, he sees the whole scenario again being played out before his eyes.

The first half of this important book covers the earlier cases of Western fascination with, and blindness to, totalitarian nightmare states. The Soviet Union, Castro’s Cuba and Mao’s China were all objects of wide-eyed leftist veneration and adoration.

Glazov reminds us of the words of the US ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph Davies, uttered during the height of Stalin’s murder of millions. He waxed eloquent in his love of Stalin with these words: Stalin’s “brown eye is exceedingly wise and gentle. A child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him.”

French writer Jean-Paul Sartre could say this about another murderous thug, Fidel Castro: “Castro is at the same time the island, the men, the cattle and the earth. He is the whole island.” And Father Daniel Berrigan, another longstanding apologist for tyrants, could say this of Hanoi’s prime minister Pham Van Dong: he is an individual “in whom complexity dwells: … a face of great intelligence, and yet also of great reserves of compassion …”

Or consider the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, who after capturing power in 1979 managed to carry out 8,000 political executions in the following three years. They made the nation a place of torture, repression and dictatorship. Yet plenty of Western leftists fell at their feet in worship.

German writer Günter Grass, who was shown a “prison” which the Sandinistas wanted political pilgrims to see — not the actual prisons where inmates were beaten, starved, tortured and killed — came back with euphoric exhilaration: “The humane way in which sentences are carried out!”, he gushed, along with other sentimental mush.

Of course, the Soviets had done just the same with the Gulag decades earlier, to fool gullible Westerners who came over for a look. Western left-wingers were just as ignorant and easily deceived in the 1930s or ’50s as they were in the ’80s.

And they still are. The second half of this book looks at Islamic terrorism, and its Western apologists. There are plenty of leftists in the West who are convinced that Islamic terrorism either does not exist, or is all America’s fault.

Again, Glazov offers plenty of examples. The September 11 atrocity provides plenty of quotes. Norman Mailer called the suicide-hijackers “brilliant.” He excused the attack by saying, “Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel which consequently had to be destroyed.”

Susan Sontag assured us that the terrorist attack was the result of “specific American alliances and actions.” Film-maker Oliver Stone affirmed that 9/11 was a “revolt” and said the ensuing Palestinian celebrations were comparable to those seen in the French and Russian revolutions.

Christian leader Tony Campolo could argue that 9/11 was a legitimate response to the medieval Crusades. German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen described the 9/11 attacks as “the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos.” On and on the apologists for terror and tyranny go. And then there is the inherent anti-Semitism in so much of this as well.

For many left-wingers, Israel is always the enemy, and the Muslim and Arab populations can do no wrong. Consider the remarks of Mike Wallace concerning Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the annihilation of Israel: “He’s an impressive fellow this guy. He really is. He’s obviously smart as hell. … You’ll find him an interesting man.”

These leftists offered more support for Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein than they did for George W. Bush. Film-maker Michael Moore denounced the US while extolling the terrorists: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.”

Glazov devotes a chapter to seeking to examine the psychological makeup of these leftists whose romance with tyranny and terror seems so hard to fathom. They are alienated from their own homelands, although seldom realise it. They espouse a secular religion, a secular utopian vision which speaks much of humanity but is happy to see individual humans crushed in the attempt to create their coercive utopia.

The West-hating Left seems to be a permanent feature of modern Western life. Now that the communist revolution has lost its momentum, other causes must be found. The Islamist cause nicely does the trick. The same enemies are there, such as America, freedom and affluence.

As this book reminds us, we really have two enemies to contend with: murderous totalitarian ideologies of every stripe, and their Western leftist support base. It is an insidious alliance of which we all must be aware. This book does a fine job of making that very clear indeed.

Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website, CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com.

To order a copy of United in Hate, click here.

  • reddog

    For the same reason that the Right does. Pinochet, Somozas, Franco, Pahlavis, Saudis, Blah, blah, blah.

    At least the American Left don't rain death squads and involve the US military in Wars to support and sustain them.

    • watchful

      REALLY??????????????? Under what rock did you just slither out from? That's the stupidest comment I've heard yet on this web site. Congratulations. That's really saying something. You couldn't be related to Bubba the Underdog could you?

    • evan

      Vietnam was conducted by Kennedy and Johnson. Democrats voted overwhelmingly to support Iraq and Afghanistan, at Bill and Hillary Clinton, Madelene Albright, Richard Clark, and Sandy Bergers urging.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

      So, let me get this straight …

      If you're "leftwing", you support the commie dictators of the world. If you're "rightwing", you support the fascist dictators of the world.

      You demonstrate a complete lack of understanding, on this issue. As a "rightwinger", I support liberty. If I see a lack of liberty, the leaders don't get my support.

      Do you get it?

    • http://www.saberpoint.blogspot.com Stogie

      At least the American Left don't rain death squads and involve the US military in Wars to support and sustain them.

      Simplistic pablum. The Right has not done any such thing. We do, however, favor alliances with undemocratic leaders and regimes when it it in our strategic best interests, and when such leaders oppose the same tyrannical aggression. Leftists support radical regimes of whatever stripe simply because such regimes share their hatred of America. So we have liberals supporting the Soviet Union, the Palestinians, the Jihadis and opposing pro-democracy nations like Israel.

      Glazov got it right. If a despotic regime hates America and wishes it harm, you can be sure the Left will offer comfort and support to that despotic regime, generally without fail.

    • American Eagle

      Standard canard of the left: argument by source derogation. (and even there, by simple innuendos rather than actual analysis and consequent condemnation). Their religious fanatisims (the church of Left), doesn't permit them see the total
      irrelevance of such arguments. And of course they
      would give an arm and a leg to obfuscate the fundamental difference between the Left supporting the islamic/communist monsters, and the right supporting similar such: the former does it AGAINST the interests of america, while the latter does it IN the intersts of america. Even then, there is no sane person who will put Pahlavis and the Ayatollahs in the same boat. Of course, there is no accounting for insanity—be it communist/Leftist or islamic. And, one must grant that the fifth-column can survive only through lies, deciet, and obfuscation. Amazing thing is that they choose to come to THIS site and do it. AS IF …

    • Liberty Clinger

      The American "Right" is the Declaration and Constitution – the modern American Tea Party movement. The American "Left" encompases both Marxist and Fascist ideology – both anathama to the American Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution. The European, Asian and Latin American "Right" is simply the Fascist Left as opposed to the Marxist Left, and bears no relationship to the American "Right."

      Watch this video if you want to understand "Left" and Right."

    • Patrick

      My fellow " Front-Pagers ' have been more eloquent than I would've been. You, sir, are an absolute unintelligent idiot and intellectual fraud

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/topperj topperj

    The Left loves power. Dictators love power. The Left loves dictators for the power they have. It's pretty simple, really. Oh, and they both hate America.

  • Cuban Refugee

    "Dancing with Devils" is the perfect title for this post; however, the satanic aspect of the heading is not the exclusive domain of the tyrants mentioned herein. In order to find in these protagonists for Lucifer such brilliant light, there must be a striking chord of similarity between the admirers and the admired. Our free will allows us to choose between good and evil — everyone mentioned in this article, to varying degrees, sucks from the breast of the Evil One.

  • oldmomster

    the leftists and academics believe that they know what is best for 'the people' – that's us. While they fly around in private planes, spout theories and use models showing that the middle class – that's us – use too much power for our a/c and too much fuel for our homes/SUV's, eat too much meat, and watch too much TV, they are conning the people – that's us – out of billions around the world with their crap and tax scam. Once they get the US on board, it will be trillions. Better get your kids use to the idea that they will be living with mom and dad for the next few decades, 'cause once the lefties are done, there won't be a job left in America.

  • svengi

    Ezra Pound's book, Make it New, I think characterizes what many of the leftist think is most important, new things that they have created or understand,, rather than old cliched or bourgeoise. ie experimental n=music rather than South Pacific. They see in regimes that are revolutionary either right or left, opportunity to have power and/or listened to, taken seriously. where as ordinary regimes, have the church, the military or corporate-financial figure running the state, power that exclues them.
    They represent the schizophrenic parent who says "do as I tell you, not as I do."

  • Jean

    Then there's my consistently simple-minded view: Evil exists. Its agents are human.

  • DFR

    As if in history there is not enough evidence of wrong doing from the right. Come on, left-right both arms of the same body. As long as human being does not want to accept its own weakness to greed and evil, it will continue to be the same.

  • Diann

    This is an excellent review of Jamie Glazov's book, United in Hate. I read it, then I sent a copy of it to Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper. If you haven't read it – order the book and read it. Send copies to the federal politicians. It explains why there is an element in our society that idolizes tyrants. I say – give all the West haters one way tickets to the regime of their choice. Make them stay there for at least 10 years, and then see what they have to say.

  • sflbib

    “The humane way in which sentences are carried out!”

    Potemkin prisons? And it never occurred to them to ask why political opponents were in prison in the first place.

    “He’s an impressive fellow this guy. He really is. He’s obviously smart as hell. … You’ll find him an interesting man.”

    Didn’t they similarly fawn over Hitler and Mussolini in the ‘30s? If I recall correctly, Hitler was once Time Magazine’s man of the year.

    “Yet in America they were being viciously attacked by an intelligentsia that loathed America while idolizing communist barbarism. … here he [Glazov] seeks to assess and understand this most bizarre feature of Western life.”

    It’s not barbarism that the intelligencia is fascinated with; it’s their idea that society can be remade to conform to their notion of what it should be. When the time comes, as it inevitably does, that to make their idea work, the peoples’ rights must be taken away, the Brown-shirts have to take over from the intelligencia who shrink from the necessary barbarism. Since THERE CANNOT POSSIBLY BE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THEIR IDEA, rationalization sets in, and you hear the excuses like, “you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.”

    Victor Klemper got it right. Writing about the fate of the defeated Nazis in 1945, he wrote:

    “If one day the situation were reversed and the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands, then I would let all the ordinary folk go and even some of the leaders, who might perhaps after all have had honorable intentions and not known what they were doing. But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lampposts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.” http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle….

  • http://maxentropy.squarespace.com Bruce

    The so-called intellectuals and academics who embrace leftist tyrants are predominantly denizens of university liberal arts departments. As such they positively despise capitalism which has, historically, de facto marginalized and dissed them as expendable low-paid contributors to our socioeconomic system. Their embrace of Marxism is their vengeance for this perceived disrespect. Thumb-sucking petulance. Nothing more.

  • Robert Slotover

    I haven't read the book but I would be very sad if it repeated the canard that Stockhausen somehow agreed with the aims fof the 9/11 terrorists. He was the last person to have done so. Slovenly reporting destroyed him. What he said was "Lucifer's greatest work of art" but the 'Lucifer' (a character in his opera cycle LICHT) was left off the initial press report. No amount of corrections could wipe away the slur. It was as if people wanted him to be a devil because they didn't like his music.

  • American Eagle

    While Jamie's analysis of the love-affair between two most heinously destructive fanatic religious movements (islam and the Left) is deep and right on, there is another, more concrete dimension to this. Soviet (and post-soviet) Russia. Bucher (and many others) have documented an actual chain-of-command connection from Russia to muslim madmen, unleashing the muslim monster on the West.
    Muslim madness exists on its own. Russia/communistst AND american Left, have no qualms about instigating, aiding, and abating it to achieve their anti-american, anti-freedom goal—destruction of the free West.

    Again, there is only one way to get rid of that twin termite colony infesting america — extermination.

  • gpcase

    In a free country, you can't literally exterminate those with whom you disagree (the time to pick up our proverbial pitchforks has not come), but you could defeat them by severing the link between their philosophy and the popular myths that sustain their power base in academia, the media and government. This is first and foremost a war over ideas; their center of gravity. There needs to be a nationwide education campaign designed to discredit Marxist theories that have been mainstreamed (e.g., Marx's theory on the exploitation of labor provides the basis for the redistribution of wealth, that is, all the entitlement programs and the villification of the most successful in society). Break this link and you will open the minds of people to alternative views.

  • USMCSniper

    All of these new leftist indoctrinates of the Vietnam era are the same. They are Nihilists. Nihilism is active evil with delusions of righteousness. And that exactly describes the major horrors of the 20th century! Nazis were regarded by millions as moral idealists! So were Fascists. So were Communists and so are the so called New Left. Nihilism is far from spent; it keeps mutating into new forms like environmentalism. The cure is to obliterate it at the root, but that requires upholding the good as the purpose of morality. And that requires the honesty to recognize self-interest as the motive of morality, and the courage to crusade for it.

  • Paul

    Moderator–how are you going to get any interesting debate going if you block posts from the the opposing point of view? I didn't say anything that inflammatory. Why don't you just let people read it and judge for themselves?

  • Paul

    Hello everyone, I'm a 'Leftist' who happened to stumble upon this website and read all of these comments. A lot of people have tried to distinguish 'left' and 'right' in their posts, and they may be right–I'm not a political scientist. The only thing I know is why I'm a leftist. First, let me tell you what I am not. I have no love or fondness of any kind toward fascist regimes of tyrannical practices. I hate violence in general and strongly believe in the golden rule. I think we must be fair to ourselves as humans, but remember that we utterly rely on the earth to survive; without it we don't have a chance. So feel free to take these points and classify me as you will.
    – I believe in gun control. Hand guns are meant to kill people, nothing more.
    – I believe in environmental protection. I think we are using our natural resources much faster than we can replenish them, it's only a matter of time before we run out.

  • Paul

    - I believe in regulation by a democratically elected government. It is impossible for individual citizens to know everything. Choosing a life of complete freedom is also a choice for ignorance to many issues that you do not have time to learn. What average citizen, for example, knew about the effects of ozone depletion in the early 90's? Hardly anyone. Without government regulation of CFCs, tens of thousands of people would soon be dying of skin cancer. Govt run and funded bodies are able to educate a society about very serious issues that the average citizen doesn't bother to understand.