Saturday, July 07, 2007
Lenin makes the hajj
One of the most interesting below-radar phenomena of our day is the slow rotting of the secular hard Left and its assimilation into Islam. Wretchard from the Belmont Club made a couple of posts about this a few years ago, mostly in connection with the 1993 European Social Forum in Paris, a huge Leftist conference.
Wretchard is mostly interested in the political and cultural consequences. He writes what purports to be a funeral oration for the secular Left. Because they lack the discipline and self-denial to see themselves through the hard times, they will never be an existential threat to Western Civilization instead, and will function only as adjunct to the struggle between the West and Islam.
I am more intested in the spiritual causes of this phenomenon, in the hearts and minds of the typical Leftist who makes this transition. The main premise is that the Left is essentially a rejection of bourgeois society and an expression of hatred against it. But, over the passage of time, all the Communist revolutions, the Howard Dean primal screams, all the enthusiasm for Fidel Castro and Che Guevara just fade away. They take a big bite out of the bourgeois of their time, of course, but they never establish the societies that justify all the energy and effort spent on their behalf.
Therefore, the aging Leftist is despondent and heartbroken. He hatred in his heart burns as strong as it ever did, but the optimism that he could build something different is gone. Therefore, he makes a religious turn. He allies himself with Islam, which from his perspective is the rejection of bourgeois society turned into a religion. He spiritually feeds himself with the solace of any religious believer, while at the same time nurturing his grudges against the world.
Of course, the original Leftist critique of bourgeois society is that it is too stifling, it insists on meaningless convention at the expense of individual autonomy. The Muslim critique of society is just the opposite. It is all license for perversion and blasphemy. But when push comes to shove, that can be papered over. With the turn to Islam the leftist can still keep his hatred of his neighbors, and that is what matters most.