'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, November 22, 2004

Kinsley's World 

It seems when you become a successful public intellectual of the liberal variety, you lose the ability to see the hard left. Something happens to your eyesight, and Z Magazine and Alexander Cockburn's column in The Nation fade away like they were written in invisible ink. Kinsley makes this unfortunate disorder the basis for a whole op-ed piece:

What seems to be today's antiwar position — it was a terrible mistake and it's a terrible mess, but we can't just walk away from it — was actually the pro-war position during Vietnam. In fact, it was close to official government policy for more than half the length of that war.

Today's antiwar cause doesn't even have a movement, to speak of, let alone an agenda. It consists of perhaps 47% of the citizenry — the ones who voted for John Kerry — who are in some kind of existential opposition to the war but don't know what they want to do about it.

It only makes sense to refer to the assertion "It was a terrible mistake ... but we can't just walk away from it" as "today's antiwar position" if we assume we are discussing a world with a much narrower political spectrum than the world of reality.

It's ironic that he doesn't state anywhere in his column that he, Michael Kinsley, believes the United States should immediately withdraw from Iraq. It is, after all, this unwillingness to do so on the part of people like Kinsley that causes proponents of "Out now!" policies to be so hard to see.

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