There are large patches of decent, well-meaning, people on the left whose eagerness to help anyone who might be “oppressed” is matched only by their zeal in denouncing people who question if such help may be doing more harm than good.
At the moment, there are around 800,000 migrants either in Europe or on their way. The luvvies on the left see each one of these migrants as a potential Anne Frank fleeing the evils of ISIS, Assad and assorted other nasties. Every one of the migrants is granted instant refugee status in the good hearts of the lefties because these kind souls are too lazy to even try to make distinctions.
Making distinctions is what intellectually engaged people do. There is an apparent difference between a family driven from their home a week ago and unable to register at a refugee camp and the young men who, the week before, were driving such families from their homes. But once the hunter and the hunted head off in the general direction of Germany, the lazy left transforms them into “refugees” and any attempt to sort sheep from goats is nothing but racist, fascist oppression.
Suggesting that the migrant flow might best be contained in the Middle East or that it would be a good idea to take on ISIS seriously and get rid of Assad are seen as failure of compassion. The idea that Europe might imitate Australia and turn the refugees back so as to discourage others from coming is entirely beyond the pale.
When I say “the left” above I used to be speaking of a particular sort of activist leftie who, in Canada, would usually be found at Rabble and at the more virulent anti-Israel events or suggesting the something be Occupied. The time these people saved by not thinking very hard was redeployed into adopting really hard line positions on issues of little concern to the average voter. For various reasons, mainly because the media are equally lazy and nutbars protesting pipelines or announcing that “No one is illegal.” are colourful easy stories to cover, this activist left is surprisingly influential. While it does not make policy, it can shout its agenda into the national conversation and can exercise a heckler’s veto over opinions it disagrees with.
It is no surprise at all that, as soon as the migrants started rolling into Europe, the lefties immediately embraced their cause as a test of Europe’s humanitarian resolve. This happened in Europe and here in Canada where there is a bidding war going on between Mulcair and Trudeau, along with assorted provincial premiers, as to who can promise the greatest compassion by demanding Canada take in ever more “refugees”. The fact neither of these leaders nor the provincial premiers have thought very clearly about the security, social or cultural implications of their bids shows how powerful the luvvie claque can be in Canada.
However, for the moment – and possibly excepting young Justin – the adults still run our politics. The far fringes of lefty thought, while over-represented in the media, are largely ignored in the day to day working of the Canadian Parliament. While a Mulcair government would have more than its fair share of left wingers, almost all of them would be capable – when it came to the point – of making the important distinctions necessary to tell the difference between a refugee, a migrant and an invader. And, perhaps as importantly, they would see a good reason to do so.
The lefties in the UK, having been defeated in the last General Election (which they had convinced themselves they were going to win), have decided to abandon adult supervision and elected Jeremy Corbyn as their next leader. Mr. Corbyn is out on the looney left of Labour. He likes Hamas and Hezbollah, has stated that he can see no proper role anywhere abroad for Britain’s armed forces, wants – of course – to tax the rich, renationalize the railways, is resolutely anti-nuke, deep Green and, needless to say, welcomes refugees in unlimited numbers. To say he is a radical left winger is understatement veering toward sarcasm. And he is terrifically earnest in each and every one of his beliefs.
Corbyn and the luvvies in general are predictably dogmatic because they have largely abandoned any pretence of critical thought. There are no complications in Corbyn land, no ISIS members floating over with the rest of the refugees. And, indeed, from a Corbynite perspective, even if ISIS was sending on battalions of terrorists, Corbyn says he will not bomb ISIS, he wants to talk instead.
There is a wonderfully childlike quality to Corbyn which I can’t help but admire. Unlike the last seriously left wing Leader of the Labour Party, Michael Foot, Corbyn is not an intellectual and has spent no time in and around government or the security services. He has managed to preserve his activist’s innocence of any knowledge of Palestinian terrorism, ISIS atrocities or other bad things in the world apparently by repeating the mantra – “It is America’s fault.”
You don’t have to think very hard once you have that essential key. And it allows you to preserve a touching naivete in the face of everything from migrants to the IRA.
The adults in the Labour Party are appalled. Front benchers are resigning, commentators are taking odds on how long Labour will be out of power, donors are heading to the exits; but it does not matter. For the activists, for the true believers, the election of Corbyn represents the pinnacle of the magical thinking which powers the dogmatic left. They can count on Corbyn to stick to his principles and their agenda no matter what the electoral consequences. There will be no trimming with Corbyn.
All of which will be deeply comforting for the activists because it will ensure that no hard choices, no difficult thinking, will be required of the newly pure Labour Party. Old fuddy duddies, the fiscally responsible, the war mongers who think, perhaps, ISIS might deserve a bit of bombing, the racists who fail to embrace every last migrant with open arms, people who think it important to have a productive as well as fair economy – they are all yesterday’s men. They lack the purity of purpose and the clarity of vision it takes to be a Corbynite and they will be tossed on the ash heap of history in a matter of months if not weeks.
Lazy thinking has triumphed in the Labour Party which, I suspect, means that the Labour Party, as we know it, is over. The adults will take their money, organization and abilities to make hard choices and play somewhere else. Which also means that the Conservative Party will be in government for at least one and perhaps two or three more elections.