Nick Cohen

Extrait du livre « What’s Left? » de l’intellectuel de gauche Nick Cohen:

"I ask how wealthy socialists, liberals, and feminists in Europe and North America came to turn their backs on the victims of movements that in their misogyny, homophobia, and racism represented everything the left is against–or says it’s against. I ask whether the betrayals are merely a product of a justifiable revulsion against the Bush presidency that will go when he’s gone or whether there are deeper and more uncomfortable causes that call into question what it means to be left wing today. […]

Sexist judges used to say that women who went out in miniskirts were « asking for it ». Their provocative dress was the root cause of their rape. So it was with the intellectual left after 9/11. We « had it coming »; we were the root cause of our own murder. Just as judges once removed responsibility from rapists and didn’t want to know why some men raped and others did not, so intellectual leftists made mass murder appear a natural response to external provocation and didn’t ask themselves if any free society could remain free if it didn’t provoke Islamists. Rather than listening to what bin Laden was saying, leftish intellectuals adopted a stance for which I find no precedent: they urged the appeasement of demands that hadn’t been made. They used bin Laden as an ally to promote their own wish list and called for a limit to globalization, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank or a rerun of the disputed 2000 American Presidential election. […]

Of all people, the liberal intelligentsia seems best able by temperament and training to lead the search for the middle way. No phrase is dearer to our hearts than « there is good and bad on both sides ». Our favourite colour is grey (or shades thereof). You can be a critical friend of one side or another but you have to choose which side you are on, and those who don’t usually end up as the biggest villains of all. […]

Like generals who fight the last war instead of the present one, socialists and squishy progressives were so accustomed to regarding American imperialism as the only source of evil in the world that they couldn’t imagine any other enemy."