The Fall-Out: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence

To speak very generally, there are two kinds of left apostate: there are those who
break with the left in order to move elsewhere (usually to the right, though not
always) and there are those who repudiate certain beliefs or modes of thinking
within the left in order to strengthen other competing traditions within the
left, which they see as more authentic and valuable. Among the former, one can
instance Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, Paul Johnson and, more recently,
Christopher Hitchens. Among the latter, Rosa Luxemburg, Victor Serge, Arthur
Koestler, C.L.R. James, and George Orwell are prominent. Since the terror attacks
of September 11, 2001, the ranks of this latter group have swelled markedly. In
America, Michael Walzer, Paul Berman and Mitchell Cohen, among others, spoke
out against the left’s reluctance or refusal to properly confront the menace of global
Islamism, while in Britain a similar charge was spearheaded by, most prominently,
David Aaronovitch, Norman Geras and Nick Cohen. Then, in April 2006, The
Euston Manifesto was launched [1]. Authored by Geras and Alan Johnson,
the Manifesto declared a commitment to democratic, egalitarian, humane, and
libertarian values; registered its opposition to all forms of terrorism, political
tyranny, ideological dogma, racist sentiment and cultural bigotry; reaffirmed the
principle of a responsibility to protect the innocent from grave human rights
violations; and expressed a profound impatience with elements of the left that have
abandoned, or shown contempt for, the best aspirations of the progressive and
democratic tradition. The appearance of the Manifesto, and the mass of interest it
generated, seems to have been a galvanizing moment.

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