An example of that abandonment came two weeks ago (EDITOR: Oct. 12-14) at the University of Michigan's pro-Palestinian conference, which could not bring itself to criticize suicide bombings. Save us from moral appeals that leave room for blowing up families in supermarkets.
Journalist Christopher Hitchens caused a bigger hubbub than Walzer when he resigned from The Nation magazine after 20 years, citing its anti-war stance on Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote in his farewell column, is "a filthy menace" and "there is not the least doubt that he has acquired some of the means of genocide and hopes to collect some more." He thought The Nation had become "the echo chamber of those who truly believe that John Ashcroft is a greater menace than Osama bin Laden."
In another article, Hitchens wrote: "I can only hint at how much I despise a left that thinks of Osama bin Laden as a slightly misguided anti-imperialist. ... Instead of internationalism, we find among the left now a sort of affectless, neutralist, smirking isolationism" and "a masochistic refusal to admit that our own civil society has any merit."
Ron Rosenbaum of the New York Observer said Hitchens' departure from The Nation was sad because he "forced a lot of people on the left to confront their blind spot, their on-bended-knee obeisance to anyone in the Third World who posed as a 'liberator,' from Mao to Castro to Arafat and the Taliban."
Rosenbaum's comments came in an article on his own defection, "Goodbye, All That: How Left Idiocies Drove me to Flee." One trigger: a well-respected academic said he welcomed 9/11 because it gave Americans a chance to reassess their past honestly, as Germans did in the 1960s. "I couldn't take it any more," Rosenbaum wrote. "Goodbye to all that ... the inability to distinguish between America's sporadic blundering depredations" and Hitler's Germany. Goodbye, he said, to the refusal to admit that "Marxist genocides" slaughtered some 20 million to 50 million people in Russia, China and Cambodia. And goodbye to the "peace marches" like the one in Madrid where women wore suicide-bomber belts as bikinis. "'Peace' somehow doesn't exclude blowing up Jewish children," Rosenbaum wrote.
We owe a debt to Walzer, Hitchens and Rosenbaum. Now will they make any difference to our hyperalienated left?