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December 27, 2004

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» The Silence of the Left from Ace of Spades HQ
Via Instapundit, this trenchant observation about the left's continuing lack of interest in democracy and freedom: But what I noticed was not a story that everybody was linking to and commenting on, but one that was going for the most... [Read More]

» Silence On The Left from Let's Try Freedom
Former leftist Bloggledygook wonders why the left side of the blogosphere isn't celebrating the triumph of democracy in the Ukraine. The sad answer: because Ukraine chose western values and western notions of liberty and freedom. Worth a read for hi... [Read More]

» Ukraine Elections from The Laughing Wolf
Well, the verdict is in and in the real election Yushchenko has won. One of the more fun and interesting takes on this on the ground is at Le Sabot Post-Moderne. Also check out Tulip Girl and Orange Ukraine. Or... [Read More]

» http://www.ubilibertas.com/archives/000333.php from Ubi Libertas
Bloggledygook says something a number of us may have been thinking - where's all the backslapping and good feeling from lefty commentators on the triumph of democracy in the Ukraine? "This is why no one on the left welcomes the... [Read More]

» No Joy On The Left For Ukraine's Escape from Just Some Poor Schmuck
Bloggledygook: The Silence of the Left. I write all this just to let the reader know that when I say that the left sees the liberation of Ukraine as an embarrassment I know what I'm talking about. The reason modern... [Read More]

» Ukraine turns West from andunie.net
As expected, Viktor Yushchenko has won the (latest) presidential election in Ukraine. [I]nternational observers praised the conduct of Sunday’s re-run vote, held after the second round was annulled over ballot-rigging. With nearly all votes count... [Read More]

Comments

ZF

The left you describe, and lived, is a primitive religion. Congratulations (perfectly genuine) for figuring this out.

Who was it who said (and I'm not religious) "when people stop believing in God they don't start believing nothing, they start believing absolutely anything".

This is actually a very bad sign in terms of what these pathetic losers will find to 'commit themselves to' next.

ed

Hmmm.

Frankly from my, rather ultra-Conservative point of view, most liberals seem like they're simply in opposition to President Bush. Whatever Bush is in favor of, liberals must be against. It's fairly strange. If Bush came out in favor of Cherry Garcia ice cream I'm certain that it would be boycotted by liberals all over America.

Cover Me, Porkins

"What's up with the left?"

As a movement, it doesn't give a toss about individual liberty. The left stopped complaining about Third World suffering when the right decided it was time to do something about it. Where have you been? ;-)

R. Fagin

So why did it take you until Solzhenitsyn to figure out what the Soviet Union really was? There was more than enough evidence around, even as early the late 1940s. Ever read any of the transactions of the House Unamerican Activities Committee? For all the excesses ans silliness of that committee, they correctly identified, even back then, that the Soviet Union was an evil empire. That they sought to destroy America and its civilzation was only in doubt to the willfully ignorant. Alger Hiss was a traitor and a dangerous subversive, and Whittaker Chambers was right to put him in proson. Hitler merely killed 8 or 9 million he considered sub human. Stalin, on the other hand, was able to extinguish 20 million poor souls. We don't even need to mention the more than 30 million who died in Mao's Cultural Revolution.

Of course the left is silent about the Ukraine. Who wants to call attention to uncontrovertible proof that one's most cherished beliefs are so much baloney?

What are you talkin about?

What was dismissive about the comment on Kos's site? It showed a lack of trust in the Ukrainian authorities' ability to fairly count ballots. Duh. And if you check now there is a post on it. Perhaps you don't know but there is a TIME DIFFERENCE on the west coast. And Kevin Drum has not posted ANYTHING in the last two days.......

What are you talkin about?

See also Matt Yglesias's post on the subject.

http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/2004/12/orange_revoluti.html

Stop formulating a position, and then searching for proof of it. And for the commenter who compares the left in this country to Mao and Lenin --- that is disgusting and absurd and shows the moral bankruptcy of the modern right, simply resorting to name-calling. I might as well just compare Bush to Hitler and Mussolini.

msizer

Matt's commenters don't seem very happy, Mr. About.

Frew

What are you talkin about, What are you talkin about?

Yglesias' post said to the effect that it's nice the reformer won, but we still don't know how he'll turn out.

People who left a comment to the post are pretty sure how Yuschenko will turn out. They are all too willing to believe the lies told about him by his opponents.

They remind me of the people who used to lap up Stalin's propaganda. Especially the one who is sorry Yuschenko didn't die from poisoning.

chuck

I might as well just compare Bush to Hitler and Mussolini.

Why would you compare Bush to a couple of leftists. Makes no sense at all.

beaupeep

Personally, I think Solzhenitsyn should be required reading. There are still plenty of veils that need lifting.

Mark Buehner

Frew, the point you are missing is that it didnt matter who won, the fact that the process worked is the victory. I agree i havent seen many leftists celebrating that point, which is odd. This was just the type of revolution against the reactionary the left was supposed to love. I get the feeling hatred for all things Bush has reached such a level that anything good that happens on his watch, even if he cant take credit for it, is bad. There are some lefties out there desperate for the history books to show the darkest, most corrupt, evil eight years in American (if not world) history no matter the cost. And that isnt an exageration.

Richard Aubrey

It worked in Afghanistan. It worked in Ukraine.
This means it might work in Iraq, and that would mean Bush wins.
Can't have that.

You are liars

From DailyKos: "So major props to the Ukrainians for pulling this election off successfully. For a country with a very short democratic history, this is an impressive turnabout from November's badly marred vote, and in barely a month's time."

Karl

In the interest of moving the discussion forward, let's look at a couple of examples:
Take a look at the comments to the Ukraine story at MyDD here (http://www.mydd.com/story/2004/12/27/15640/062) and here (http://www.mydd.com/story/2004/12/26/13154/548) When not used as a set-up to insult Bush, the commenters put forward the pro-Russian line or suggest that the pro-Western candidate was every bit as bad as the one backed by Russia.
Or how about Oliver Willis? I know he gets bent out of shape whenever there is any implication that the Left is not supportive of freedom or elections. To his credit, here (http://www.oliverwillis.com/node/view/1414) he writes that "[w]e should back the ideals of democracy here." Why the word "here" appears in Oliver's sentence, I don't know. Even with that qualifier, the responses are... mixed. Yuschenko is deemed worse than Putin by one commenter. Another has a conspiracy theory so bizzare and poorly-expressed that I do not believe anyone could define it.
Talking Points memo is mentioned in the original post. I would add that a Google search (http://www.google.com/search?q=ukraine+site:talkingpointsmemo.com&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&safe=off&filter=0") of the site shows that Mr. Marshall addressed the story once prior to the election, so the lack of coverage afterward should not surprise.
Nevertheless, the general silence of the Left on this story may not reflect a lack of interest in the spread of freedom and democracy. It may simply reflect a lack of interest in foreign policy when it cannot be used as a club aginst the Bush Administration. That might be something for the Left to consider before 2006 or 2008.

mfg

Can we distinguish between leftist politics and liberal politics?

Proposal: Liberal politics recognizes individual liberty as the wellspring of organizing society.

Leftist politics appears to organize around state (read: elite / leftist) control of economics -- thereby putting a boot on the throat of every economic actor in society. I can't say for sure, since I haven't encountered anyone who has clearly distinguished leftist from liberal politics.

In short, leftist politics is misanthropic. Is it any wonder that they don't cheer Ukraine's movement toward a more liberal, democratic order? Liberal politics kills leftist politics, and vice versa.

MG

Michael Pugliese

http://marccooper.typepad.com/marccooper/2004/12/the_orange_and_.html

Good news from the homeland (my mother’s family is from Odessa). Opposition candidate Victor Yuschenko has trounced the establishment candidate Yanukovych by a 52-44 margin.

A fitting victory for a pro-democracy movement that has filled the streets of Kiev for the past several weeks. And a sound blow to authoritarian rule in one of the most important of the former Soviet republics.

As is often the case, the movement behind the man is much better than the man himself. We should all take heart in the courageous example set by millions of Ukrainians who were determined to move their country out of the past.

Lamentable it has been that some on the British and American left actually seemed upset over Yuschenko’s movement. Support from the Bush administration, they say, tainted the whole process. Many U.S. critics of Yuschenko are quick to point out that his American-born wife once worked for the Reagan administration. And the family of his opponent? Or his opponent himself ? Suddenly the KGB is purer than the American Enterprise Institute?

Finally, an excellent piece comes in from American leftist professor Steve Zunes who forcefully argues why the American left should unreservedly support Yuschenko’s Orange Revolution.

Zunes, is a favorite of the American anti-war left so I hope his voice of reason will inspire those ready to write-off the new Ukrainian leader as a CIA agent to reconsider their knee-jerk impulse:

Some elements of the American left have committed a grievous error, both morally and strategically, in their failure to enthusiastically support the momentous pro-democracy movement in the Ukraine.

After more than three centuries of subjugation under Russian rule—first under the czars and then under the communists—followed by a dozen years of independence under corrupt and autocratic rule, the Ukrainian people appear to be on the verge of a new era of freedom. This development is significant, given that—with a population and land mass comparable to France, rich in minerals, fertile farmland, and modern industry—a democratic Ukraine could become a pivotal, independent player in European and international affairs.

But rather than embracing this inspiring triumph of the human spirit against authoritarianism and repression, much of the left media has focused instead upon the opposition’s shortcomings and on the double standards and questionable motivations of the Bush administration’s support for the movement. Although these concerns are not without merit, they miss the fact that we are witnessing one of the most notable popular democratic uprisings in history. Furthermore, the left’s lukewarm response has given both the right and the mainstream media an opportunity to brand the entire progressive community with allegations that we oppose freedom and democracy.

Read it all as Zunes takes on the leftist criticism point by point.

Zunes concludes his argument by reminding Americans that the world is much more complicated than being merely pro or anti-Bush:

Perhaps the understandable cynicism that so many American progressives are experiencing at this point in history makes it difficult for many of us to fully appreciate such a hopeful development, especially when it is supported by those who are responsible for so much violence and injustice both at home and abroad. But despite the double standards and cynical opportunism of the Bush administration, let’s not deny ourselves this occasion to celebrate an incipient peoples’ victory.

Posted by Marc Cooper on Monday, December 27, 2004 at 07:11 PM | Permalink
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Manucher

MFG's comment is central and critical to this whole discussion.

Who said that the left is liberal? All evidence coming in ever since the Bolshevik revolution, and especially accelerating since 1989 shows that there are 2 kinds of left: The liberal-left which are in an absolute minority, who are not postmodern, and who scientific in their outlook. And then there are the illeberal-left that are actually quite reactionary and are willing to make peace with the most fascistic of religious movements and Buchanan-right fascist parties.

The analysis based on left-right is no longer valid.

Today, analysis is made on liberal and illiberal tendencies. You have both left and right liberals, and then you have both the illiberal right (or fascists) and the illiberal left (the Stalinists). The illiberal left and right have entered into an unholy grand alliance to bring down liberalism. Their alliance is the most nefarious and dangerous thing.

Daniel

Manucher:

Notice that I do not describe "liberals" in the piece. I consider myself a liberal although no longer a leftist. And while I agree that the discussion is now liberal v. illiberal, it is the illiberal left that has been more to the front lately and one which I am more intimately involved. I intend to right about the (illiberal) right also butit is the left that most has my attention right now.

I have written also that the far left and far right have now gone so far away from their center that they are meeting each other on the other side, so to speak.

Right you are that the struggle now is liberals v. illiberals and one that is shaping the political future.

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