Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Corbyn and the hard left's blizzard of non-answers when faced with perfectly reasonable questions

Corbyn was at it again this afternoon. In an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg he deployed at least three of the extreme left’s favourite counter-arguments against Western democracies dropping bombs on its enemies, namely (1) the bombs will also kill ordinary people “just like you and me”, (2) it won’t “solve the problem”, (3) we should be focussing on finding a “political solution” and starting a “peace process”. (You can watch the interview with the silly old scrote here - Laura Kuenssberg does a really good job.)

There are many credible arguments against dropping bombs on Isil - but these three aren’t among them. The “don’t kill civilians” argument displays the hard left’s habit of malign compassion, because it ignores the horrors that Isil have already visited on the civilian population of Raqqa and every other territory they’ve conquered. It also ignores the atrocities still being committed on innocents in Isil-controlled territories, and the rape, torture and murder innocents in any fresh territories they conquer will suffer unless these savages are halted in their tracks. This argument also displays the hard left’s addiction to the “nirvana fallacy” (which I wrote about here) - i.e. the utterly unsupported belief that there is always an alternative course of action which will result in success while causing no pain to anyone. The nirvana fallacy also underlies the third of Corbyn’s points - that the West should be seeking a political solution by starting a “peace process”. This suggestion is so bonkersly unreal that it’s barely worth addressing - but, for people who have absolutely no grasp of reality, refuse to learn any lessons from history, and for whom human nature is a mystery, here goes:

Isil’s wish-list is so dementedly unattainable that there is no point in even imagining that any useful purpose could be served in starting to discuss it with them. Besides, Isil’s main purpose  - their very raison d’être - is to commit acts of brutality which repel the civilised world: as psychopathic, nihilistic death-cultists, they aren’t doing these things in order to achieve anything beyond the terror and revulsion their deeds evoke.

As for Corbyn’s second point - that bombing Isil won’t “solve the problem” - well, of course it bloody won’t. Nobody has ever said it would. Unlike loony leftists, grown-ups live in a world of painful compromises and hard-won partial successes - we don’t believe in nirvanas (at least, not in this life). Bombing the crap out of Isil is just one of a whole number of actions that will need to be undertaken over the course of many years to at least contain the virus. As for the argument that it will result in more terrorist attacks on the West - well, yes, it probably will. But we’re already under attack (unless you imagine that the slaughter in Paris was meant to be Isil's contribution to a "peace process", of course).

I don’t get the sense that anyone in Britain is particularly enjoying the prospect of our airforce bombing Isil targets in Syria, or imagining that there won’t be consequences. I think we all share Corbyn’s scepticism regarding Cameron’s 70,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels just itching to join in the fight. I could be wrong, but I get more of a sense of weary resignation that we simply have to stand by our allies (even when they’re represented by Hollande and Obama, for God’s sake), and that it would be cowardly to hide behind nonsense about “political solutions” or to give in to the fear of alienating more young Muslims here at home (a policy of endless niceness and appeasement doesn’t seem to have got us very far in any case), and that while it may not always be logistically possible to crush fascist psychopaths wherever they thrive (as in, for instance, North Korea), sometimes you just have to at least try. Finally, our current policy of bombing the bastards in one country and not the other is farcically irrational - a bit like asking our security services to track returned Isil fighters south of Watford, while leaving those north of it unsupervised. (And why does Corbyn keep talking about bombing Isil in Syria as if it was the start of a new war? We're already bombing them in Iraq, so we're already at war with them.)

The only interesting question to be answered about the wretched Corbyn and his terrorist-sympathising ilk is how they ended up thinking the way they do. I can best do that by pointing to an excellent article by David Hirsh entitled:  “The Corbyn left: the politics of position and the politics of reason”. You’ll find it here. It’s a bit of a dry-sounding title, but the article is anything but. It traces the moral derangement of the Corbynites back to the period when anti-imperialism became the over-riding cause of the hard left (so Britain, France and the US are perpetually and forever on the wrong side of every argument - hence the far left’s unwillingness to sanction any action by the West against Isil). And it explains how the politics of “position” confers automatic moral goodness on anyone who is in the hard left’s anti-imperialist camp - no matter how horrible they might be - and how anyone outside the camp is automatically viewed as acting from the most wicked and unworthy of motives. The article is particularly good on what it terms “The Livingstone  Formulation” - i.e. the hard left’s habit of responding to rational question about their policies with vile, ad hominem attacks  on the questioner (as Livingstone invariably does), and, in Corbyn’s case, the assumption that the person looking for a sensible answer from him is being “rude” (as he did to a reporter who had the effrontery to ask him a question as he left his house yesterday morning).

The real problem dealing with the Corbynites is that, like Isil, they don't really have any deliverable aims (unless you think it likely that Israel will be wiped off the map in the next few years, the Monarchy will be sent into exile, America will cease to be a world power, and the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange will wind up in the hands of "the workers" any time soon). No, what the Corbynites are really after is a feeling of inner purity:
But perhaps more important [than the fantasy that Corbyn might become Prime Minister] is the inward looking ‘not in my name’ politics which has given up on winning and on the positive hope of changing the world. The politics of socialism, a positive constructive project, has been replaced by the politics of resistance and of critique, a negative symbolic enterprise concerned primarily with asserting innocence. It is also infantilising insofar as it contents itself with opposition, often moralistic, often ineffectual.
The intense personal payoff of this variant of identity politics is a feeling of inner cleanliness. The world may be utterly compromised and there may be nothing I can do about it, but it isn’t going to be my fault, my own soul is clean. In this sense, while the Corbyn faction loves to say that it doesn’t do personal, it doesn’t do political either.
That would certainly explain why the extreme left devotes so little energy to doing anything useful, but an awful lot to stopping other people doing anything useful. Great article.

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