Moral torpor of the western left?

If you’ve not come across it before, Dissent magazine rarely fails to impress at least in some of its parts, if not the whole. This Quarter has an interesting piece from Norman Geras on the political reductionism of the left that has largely remained unchanged in the wake of 9/11.

His premise begins “from a short essay by Paul Berman entitled “A Friendly Drink in Time of War, which appeared in the Winter 2004 issue of Dissent, in which Berman offers six reasons why many on the left didn’t see things his way over the war in Iraq, which he supported”:

Abbreviating them, and also adding a seventh to the six that he enumerates (it appears toward the end of his argument, though he doesn’t include it as an “official” item with its own number), I set out those reasons: (1) George W. Bush; (2) the United States as being responsible for all the problems of the world; (3) support for anything construable as being anticolonial; (4) cultural relativism; (5) hostility to Israel; (6) a failure to take anti-Semitism seriously; and (7) lack of any genuine grasp of, or feeling for, the meaning of extreme forms of evil and oppression.

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