Thursday, October 23, 2003

The Dustbin of History

The Left has consistently portrayed itself as the party of the Future and the vanguard of history. But in truth it has become a party of the old. According to a recent survey by Harvard's Institute of Politics, nearly 90% of American college students consider themselves patriotic and nearly two thirds (61%) approve of President Bush's job performance. The rejection of the Left within its academic bastion can only be compared to a defeat of the US Army within the infantry training grounds of Fort Benning. If, having lost organized labor and the American working class, the Left cannot hold here, it can hold nowhere.

Nor is the shrinkage of the Left confined to the demographic sphere. It is in full retreat across the whole map of the globe. First ousted from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the Left has been unceremoniously evicted from the formerly Nasserite Arabian peninsula, where it has been supplanted by radical Islam. Even in the Pacific, hardly a trace can now be found of the Communist Party of Indonesia or PKI, once the third largest in the world after China's and Russia's in the 1960s. It has been replaced by the Jemaah Islamiyah.

The last strongholds of Left are in the aging countries of Western Europe, whose liberal attitudes are increasingly at odds with the socially more conservative, burgeoning and youthful populations of the Third World. The recent elevation of the openly gay Gene Robinson by the American Episcopalian Church underscores the widening cultural gap: it was met with fierce criticism from the Third World Episcopalian Churches, who threatened schism unless the unscriptural act were withdrawn. The liberals, unaware how far out of step they were, and perhaps still under the illusion that they represented the future rather than the past, served notice that they would cut off the Third World churches from monetary assistance unless their gay bishop was accepted, to which Bernard Malango, the primate of Central Africa replied gamely, "This is simony. Let the powerful people keep their money."

The decimation of the Left, which has come upon them so quickly that they have hardly assimilated the fact, will have enormous implications. The first is the political vacuum created by its fall, which Islam will rapidly strive to fill. The second is the dislocation of organizations like the British Conservative Party, which have largely defined themselves in opposition to the Left, a Left that is no more, leaving them to grope for a positive reason for existence.

The Left is dead, although the fact is not yet apparent to all, least of all to the dwindling Communist faithful. But the fact remains, and it reminds us of Nietzche's prophetic parable which concludes:

"I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars - and yet they have done it themselves.