The suicidal longing in the West's true believers.
Jamie Glazov's book United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tryanny and Terror tries to answer the questions I and many others have had about the silence and even complicity on the part of the West with Islamist terrorists. Why the silence on the part of feminists about the gender apartheid in places like Saudi Arabia? Why the silence from gay activists about the hangings of gays in Iran, the beatings inflicted on gays in cities like Amsterdam?
Glazov has dug into a mother lode of insight that is so rich and so vast that this book can only serve as substantial first course. And in some ways, because his critique seems to come from a kind of Enlightenment-version of Western civilization that does not refer too deeply to the West's Judeo-Christian roots, he may not even realize the full depths of what he has uncovered.
Glazov documents, with extensive footnoted excerpts, the Left's romance with dictators from Hitler, to Stalin, to Castro, to Mao, to the North Vietnamese commununists, to the Sandanistas, showing that this romance is the strongest at the height of the terror unleashed by each regime and falls off when the terror is abated. The new darlings of the Left are the barbaric jihadists of radical Islam that he shows has elements of western-style tyranny borrowed from Hitler and Stalin and mixed with religious texts advocating Islamic supremacy and death to the infidel and to the Jews.
But don't let the footnotes and the quotes from primary sources deter you. This book reads like a thriller. I could not put it down. I want everyone I know to read it.
Just like religious folk, the believer espouses a faith, but his is a secular one. He too searches for personal redemption--but of an earthly variety. The progressive faith, therefore, is a secular religion. And this is why socialism's dynamic constitute a muted carbon copy of Judeo-Christian imagery. Socialism's secular utopian vision includes a fall from an ideal collective brotherhood, followed by a journey through a valley of oppression and injustice, and then ultimately a road toward redemption.
Later in the book, he shows how this redemption is built on the blood of those killed for the sake of the new society and calls up a suicidal longing in true believers on the Left. He also points out the parallels between the socialist utopia and that of the reign of Islam. In other words, profound insights into the old Leftist phrase of having to break a few eggs if you want to make an omelet--so what you purge society of the intellectuals and the bourgeois, and those who refuse to sink their individuality into the collective.
In rejecting his own society, the believer spurns the values of democracy and individual freedom, which are anathema to him, since he has miserably failed to cope with both the challenges they pose and the possibilities they offer. Tortured by his personal alientation, which is accompanied by feelings of self-loathing, the believer craves a fairy-tale world where no individuality exists, and where human estrangement is thus impossible. The believer fantasizes about how his own individuality and self will be submerged within the collective whole."
These assertions come relatively early in the book and some might have a hard time accepting them at first, because they so go against the grain of progressive thinking that's like a miasma arising from a cauldron of toxic ideas. But he provides the proof, over and over again, from diaries, from writings of prominent leftists who turned a blind eye to the Stalinist purges etc. etc. and romanticized the blue pajamas that obliterated sexual distinctions and individuality at the height of China's cultural revolution. He even makes a convincing case for why the burka holds such allure for western feminists.
Back in my radical days I recall someone saying the personal is political. I don't think they realized how right they were, but not in the sense the phrase-coiner meant. Glazov has hit the nail on the head about how personal dysfunction leads to certain political views (which is not to say all people who are progressive have this pathology, some really do strive for equality and to help the poor, but are not doing so as the result of a death wish).
I confess I used to hate my father and hate men, white men especially. I resented the authority my father had over me and my dependence upon him, and I resented the privileged place men had in society. But after my religious awakening, when I realized profoundly how wrong it was to resent and blame, and I started to resist those tendencies and forgive, as I forgave my father and stopped resenting men, low and behold, I no longer felt inferior or felt imaginary barriers to my being treated as an equal and with respect. And my politics started changing as well. But of course, none of my blame game and politics of resentment and its relationship to self-hatred and self-destruction was conscious. And when it became conscious, it was a difficult, humbling journey of recovery. Thankfully, as I changed, I realized my father was a good man who was doing his best to raise a difficult, rebellious daughter.
What struck me were the yearnings for utopia, for immersion in some embracing collective, for heaven, for what Douglas Farrow calls "the savior state." It makes me think of the argument from desire for the existence of God and of heaven. We have thirst, therefore something must exist like water to quench it. We hunger, therefore food exists to satisfy it. We long for a Supreme Being, therefore God exists to satisfy what Blaise Pascal called that God-shaped abyss that only God can fill. But to settle on anything but the living God, is to settle on a deception thrown up by the evil one, who perverts those impulses and longs to destroy us body and soul.
I'm reading a thriller by a friend of mine called "Mohamed's Moon" that I will write more about later--in the meantime, I'm utterly enjoying this great read---and he uses a deftly written novel to get across the big differences between Islam and Christianity in story about twin brothers separated at birth. One is raised by the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt to flawlessly penetrate western society to advance the Caliphate. It's a timely contemporary novel and it dovetails perfectly with what Mark Steyn writes about in Lights Out and Jamie Glazov writes about in United in Hate.
We long for a Savior. There is a Savior. We long for heaven. There is a heaven. But it is not here on earth. In the meantime, we do the best we can for the common good, in what Farrow describes as a "modest" way that does not grant the state or some modern day Pharoah savior status.
I think it is mega cool that someone who bought United in Hate also bought my book, according to Amazon.com.