Abstract Musings

Documenting the random thoughts of a cluttered mind

The Slow Death of the Left

Michael Ledeen explains how the left lost its way.

The slow death of the Left was not limited to its failure to comprehend how profoundly the world had changed, but included elements that had been there all along, outside the purview of leftist thought. Marx was famously unable to comprehend the importance of religion, which he dismissively characterized as the “opiate of the masses,” and the Left had long fought against organized religion. But America had remained a religious society, which both baffled and enraged the leftists. On the eve of the 2004 elections, some 40 percent of the electorate consisted of born-again Christians, and the world at large was in the grips of a massive religious revival, yet the increasingly isolated politicians and intellectuals of the Left had little contact and even less understanding of people of faith.

Unable to either understand or transform the world, the Left 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.

History has certainly not ended, but it has added a new layer to its rich compost heap.