Friday, May 13, 2005

The League of Militant Democrats

Via Chrenkoff, leftist British blogger Oliver Kamm explains why Tony Blair is, at least in foreign policy, the true heir of Churchill and Thatcher, choosing principle over politics:

Overall, I am afraid there is no escaping the conclusion that Tony Blair irrevocably damaged his political standing by committing troops to the Iraq war; had the war not taken place, we can reasonably assume that he would have enjoyed a substantial - and given its unprecedented character in Labour politics - triumphant third election victory. Many, probably almost all, Labour supporters would regard this as an indictment of the PM. I regard it as a measure of the man's political stature. Knowing that the character of the threats we face has changed since 9/11 - indeed since long before that - Blair chose to ally with a nominally conservative US administration in a war that needed to be fought, when the policy of containment of Saddam Hussein had manifestly failed, and the toleration of autocratic states in the region was an affront to our values and a gathering storm over our security.

As brilliant as this passage is, it is Oliver's final paragraph that strikes an even deeper chord:

In the early days of the Federal Republic of Germany, built upon the wreckage of a regime of unmitigated barbarism, an informal understanding emerged between a conservative cause that had definitively broken with its traditions of authoritarianism and nationalism, and a social democratic party that understood the nature of Soviet totalitarianism and was determined to oppose it. The understanding was known as 'Militant Democracy'; it is a concept worth resurrecting in our age, to apply to those who broadly support the ideological alliance of Tony Blair and President Bush. I shall do what I can in my writings to advance it, from a left-wing standpoint. In order to meet a deadline for a short book expounding these themes, I shall be suspending the blog for the next month, but will return.

If these two paragraphs are any indication, Oliver's book will be a must-read. Arthur Chrenkoff, in highlighting this last passage, offers his own thoughts:

Militant Democracy -– I like it.– It is, after all, what unites a crowd as diverse as neo-cons, most mainstream conservatives, liberal hawks and 9-11 Republicans, many social democrats from countries like Great Britain and Poland, and more non-aligned people of the left like Oliver Kamm or Chris Hitchens. I always was, and I remain, encouraged by the existence of this coalition, because it demonstrates that clearly that there are values that can unite all people of good will, regardless of their political persuasion. And as Kamm usefully reminds us, there is actually a long and proud tradition of cooperation between the traditional right and the anti-totalitarian left; today, only the totalitarianism has now changed.

I really can't put it any better than that. If any of you have taken the time to check out the sites on my blogroll, you might have noticed a decent diversity of viewpoints. While the list is, reflecting my own beliefs, admittedly slanted towards the right side of the political spectrum, the blogs I link to range from ultraconservative to Marxist in orientation. Except for the "Opposing Viewpoints" links, all of these sites share one thing in common: full support for the necessity of confronting and defeating Islamist barbarism.

You might wonder why I never mention topics such as Social Security reform, judicial filibusters, Terri Schiavo, etc. It's not that I don't have my own opinions on these issues. Rather, I regard them as secondary to the essential task of successfully waging the War on Islamist Terrorism. In that struggle, I regard anyone from any political perspective who, in Oliver's words, supports "the ideological alliance of Tony Blair and President Bush" as an ally.

There once was a time when I could barely stand the sight of Christopher Hitchens. Now I regard much of his work as little short of brilliant. The fact that we would still disagree on many economic and social issues simply doesn't matter, for we are in 100% agreement on the one question that trumps all others. In fact, I now feel I have far more in common with "9/11 liberals" such as Roger L. Simon and Michael Totten, and even pro-Blair British leftists like Kamm, Norm Geras, and the guys at Harry's Place, than I do with Republican isolationist reactionaries like Patrick Buchanan.

For the third time in the last 100 years, liberal democracy finds itself under threat from murderous totalitarianism. All who are committed to preserving free societies need to join forces in their defense. To paraphrase a famous 19th century pamphlet, militant democrats of the world, unite!


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