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December 27, 2004

The Silence of the Left

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 part unnoticed: the election in Ukraine.

I went to The Washington Monthly, Tom Paine, The New Republic, Joshua Marshall, even Atrios, among several others. Nothing. Only DailyKos bothered to mention it, and then with a dismissive "We've been here before."

What's up with the left? I would think that this is the exact kind of thing to get the liberal blood going. It's certainly brightening my day. I know that this is Christmas week and there is the temptation to take it a little easy between now and the end of the year, but what we have witnessed in Ukraine this past month has to be one of the biggest stories of the year.

We have witnessed, in a former Soviet satellite not only a peaceful revolution and vote, but an event which will have long-range ramifications for Europe, Russia, the US and in fact the world. Russian political reach has been hampered as speculation is already running on the possibility of Ukraine's accession to the EU. Soft support by the United States and European countries showed not only that principled, moral support can propel a people towards self-rule, but demonstrated that America and Europe can still work together on the big issues.

The thousands shivering in makeshift tents in Kiev's Independence Square epitomized the best impulses of human yearning to be free, to choose leaders and to do it justly and peacefully.


I'm starting to believe that the modern left is not interested in the march of freedom and democracy so much as heaping petty spite and hateful condescension on the rebellious children of a long-lamented deceased empire. There is a certain nostalgia for the old Soviet Union, to be sure. Throughout the eastern half of Ukraine and into pockets of former client states, tears are still shed for Mother Russia and the Great Soviet Experiment. Kazakstan still considers itself to be "a Soviet Republic" and then there's Turkmenistan, home to Turkmenbashi, the Last of the Red Hot Dictators. But what about the left in the west?

It's an uncharitable interpretation, to be sure. But can someone on the left provide a more charitable one?

It's a curious thing. I will concede that the left probably is interested in freedom and democracy. The problem is, that interest seems to be subordinate to rooting against US interests, and when the two come into conflict, it's the latter impulse that wins out.

The result? As Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas said of John Wesley Walsh, "You have only two modes of expression: silence, and rage." (To which observation Walsh raged silently, of course.)

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