By Prof. Paul Eidelberg, June 23, 2015
British recognition of Palestinian statehood corresponds to British appeasement of Nazi Germany, which recalls the adage, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose: The more it changes, the more it's the same. British appeasement of despotism led to World War II. It may very well lead to World War III.
George Orwell attributed British appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s to the pervasive doctrine of moral relativism then and still propagated by English universities. The same relativism underlies British recognition of Palestinian statehood. Melanie Phillips excoriates this relativism in her book The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power (2010). So does Theodore Dalrymple in Our Culture, What’s Left of It (2005).
During World War II, American-born William Joyce, known as Lord Haw-Haw, became a Nazi propaganda broadcaster to England. His job was to undermine English morale. He had unwitting if not witting allies among England’s Left. Prominent among England’s anti-war protesters were intellectuals who hated Churchill. Haw-Haw was eventually captured and executed for treason by the British as a result of his wartime activities.
More recently, in September 2010, an American convert to Islam, Adam Gadahn, who became an English-language spokesman for al-Qaeda in the United States, was indicted in absentia by a federal grand jury for treason, “Aiding and Abetting al-Qaeda” (18 U.S.C. § 2339B). We have here a paradoxical phenomenon: Leftists, usually atheists, allied with Muslims.
To understand this phenomenon, we can hardly do better than study the letters and journalism of George Orwell. Although Orwell was, in sentiment, a socialist, he deplored England’s left-wing intelligentsia – especially its academics. He scorned the “emotional shallowness” of intellectuals who live in the world of ideas and have little contact with physical reality. He saw that many intellectuals of the Left were severed from the common culture of their country. “England,” said Orwell, “is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality” – precisely the feeling of many left-wing American professors.
India-born Dinesh D’Souza cites numerous examples of this attitude among American academics, journalists, movie stars, and other opinion-makers. “One American professor, Robert Jensen, said on the day after 9/11: “We must say goodbye to patriotism because the world cannot survive indefinitely the patriotism of Americans.” Political scientist Richard Berthold said, “Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon would get my vote.” Comedian Janeane Garofalo recently said, “When I see … a gay parade … in New York, with naked men and women on a float cheering, ‘We’re here, we’re queer!’ that’s what makes my heart swell. Not the flag, but a gay naked man or woman burning the flag. I get choked up with pride.”
Returning to England, the Left persistently chipped away at English morale and regarded patriotism as an “atavistic emotion.” During the 1920s and 30s, the main object of the cultural left was to break down the feeling of patriotism. This encouraged self-indulgence and hedonism. Nazi Germany deemed England soft and decadent: hence, that it was safe to plunge into war.
The American cultural left is no less hedonistic. Neo-paganism is rampant in America, only now this neo-paganism, disseminated throughout the world by American pop culture, threatens tradition based-cultures like Islam and therefore provokes Islam’s jihadic attacks against the United States. While Islam exalts war at any price, the cultural left exalts peace at any price.
Pacifism and defeatism were rampant among the English intelligentsia. Orwell saw that people who started by renouncing violence often ended up supporting Hitler. The opponents of England’s involvement in the war simply lacked the intellectual courage to think through the practical consequences of their position: their opposition to the war was objectively pro-Fascist. One may say the same of today’s cultural Left in America, but let’s probe a little deeper.
The cultural left fears Christian more than Islamic fundamentalists. They see in religion a threat to unfettered personal freedom. For the cultural left, freedom means the absence of all external moral constraints: it is the freedom of depravity, such as same-sex marriage. This is what the cultural war in America is all about. A new morality is gaining ascendancy – the morality of moral depravity.
How did this new “morality” become so powerful? After all, a majority of Americans support family values. Why don’t the laws of the United States protect these values? The answer is this: As in Israel, the cultural left has gained control of the judicial branch of government. It is the U.S. Supreme Court that decriminalized pornography and legalized same sex marriages. In the factitious name of human rights, a child no longer has a right to two parents.
The Court has made a mockery of the First Amendment by removing virtually all symbols of religion from the public domain – and without religion, there’s no morality.
No wonder Islam regards America as the Great Satan. But now Muslims see that the cultural left is only part of America, the part that threatens Islam. It is the cultural left that is seeking to spread homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and pornography throughout the world via various international organizations, including the UN.
And so Islam sees in the cultural left an enemy as well as an ally. As an enemy, the cultural Left is diametrically opposed to Islam. But since the Left has become anti-American, it is the ally of Islam! In America, however, tolerance – meaning indifferentism – trumps morality, and opens the floodgates to porn, illegal immigrants, and jihadic mosques. His is the morality of the typical college campus: “I’m okay, you’re okay.” This is nihilism. Propagated by American higher education, it’s destroying this country. Will any presidential candidate have the guts to expose this cancer?◙