Proclaiming himself a conciliator and a moderate with a vision of Americans “stand[ing] with each other” and “paying their fair share,” President Barack Obama is in fact one of the most partisan presidents ever to occupy the White House. Fine-sounding words notwithstanding, he is a leftist ideologue and no-holds-barred political fighter whose practice has consistently been to demonize the American equivalents of the hated kulaks (farmers) and petit-bourgeoisie (small business owners) persecuted in the Soviet Union. Obama’s enemies include those “bitter” people who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” as well as the presumably benighted bigots who fail to realize that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” With his anti-American, neo-Marxist outlook shaped by mentors and heroes such as Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, and Jeremiah Wright, Obama is naturally inclined to be suspicious of freedom and to feel sympathy for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Reflex affinities such as Obama’s have a long, bloody history, and anyone wishing to understand the threat posed by the Obama administration to the fabric of America is well advised to place its policies and rhetoric in a comprehensive historical perspective. How is it that an educated person can be attracted to totalitarian ideologies and predisposed to reject the freedoms of the western world? This was, arguably, the central question of the twentieth century, and it has assumed a renewed urgency since 9/11, a time when leftists have applauded terror attacks on the United States and claimed that America’s enemies are in fact righteous victims. What is one to make of their seemingly sophisticated arguments justifying atrocity? Can such people really believe, to cite only a few examples, that the 9/11 hijackers were motivated by a longing for social justice? That the Palestinian leadership is committed to peace with Israel? That people are better off in Cuba, with the highest per capita imprisonment rate in the world, than in the United States?
Jamie Glazov responds to such questions in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror (2009), a brilliant investigation that not only extensively documents leftists’ support for brutal regimes, but also diagnoses their worldview as a psycho-social syndrome of pathological dimensions. Leftist hatred, Glazov demonstrates, has less to do with specific political programs or economic systems than with a deep-rooted disenchantment with democratic freedoms and a corresponding “negative identification” with violence.
The objective evidence for leftists’ love of tyrants is substantial, and Glazov presents it convincingly with a blend of facts, anecdotes, and analysis. We learn, for example, about the massive effort on the part of western Communists to repress, distort, and recast the horrors of Stalinist Russia, including the purges that killed millions and the forced famine in the Ukraine that brought the peasantry to its knees. New York Times reporter Walter Duranty turned the reality of Ukrainian starvation into a cheerful tale of abundance, lying so aggressively in favor of Stalin’s policies that when the Manchester Guardian‘s Malcolm Muggeridge tried to report the truth-that peasant were dying en masse-he was mocked and derided, ultimately losing his job.
When leftists turned their attention to other bloody Communist regimes in Cuba, North Vietnam, China, and Nicaragua, many high-profile members of the western intelligentsia were eager to travel there to report on the miraculous gains that had supposedly been achieved. Susan Sontag wrote of Castro’s Cuba with fanatical admiration, denying the dictator’s atrocities and downplaying limitations on freedom, even going so far as to claim that “No Cuban writer has been or is in jail,” and that “the great majority of Cubans feel vastly freer today than they ever did before the revolution.” Making his pilgrimage to Hanoi in 1970, Noam Chomsky accepted as gospel all the nonsense his North Vietnamese hosts told him about the regime, as did Gunter Grass after a tour of a model Nicaraguan prison, which led him to enthuse that there was no room in the new regime for revenge-this in a country that had executed 8,000 political enemies and jailed 20,000 in the first three years of the revolution. (Hollywood’s Oliver Stone, with his glorification of Stalin and denunciation of the U.S. as “an Orwellian state,” is a current exemplar of this suicidal distemper.)
After the collapse of Communism, it has been déjà vu all over again with radical Islam. Immediately following the terrorist assault of 9/11, a jubilant chorus of university professors and progressives across North America refused to express horror for the attacks; instead, they blamed America, with Ward Churchill calling those who had died “little Eichmanns” and Nation columnist Katha Pollitt lecturing patriots who wanted to fly an American flag that it stood for “jingoism and vengeance and war.” Hundreds of so-called anti-war demonstrations were organized almost immediately to express solidarity with the Taliban regime that had harbored the attackers and to paint the United States as a warmonger. Since then, droves of leftist lawyers have worked to obtain release for the terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay and to strike down legislation intended to help the United States guard itself against future attacks. Even when Islamists testify in court that their terror quests are inspired by Koranic injunctions to kill infidels, leftists insist that they are (justly) resisting American oppression. Western feminists routinely defend Islamic misogyny-wife beating, honor killing, genital mutilation, the burqa-and will not admit that women live better lives in the western democracies. And leftist gays march in anti-Israel rallies, joining with Muslim queer-bashers to denounce the only country in the Middle East where homosexuals can live securely.
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