CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A Review of United in Hate. By Jamie Glazov.

Sep 16, 2009

WND Books, 2009.

One of the great unresolved questions of recent history is why so many members of the Western left have become so besotted with and apologetic for ruthless totalitarian regimes. Whether the Soviet Union, Cuba, or Islamist Iran, there have always been Western leftists who have idolised these brutal regimes and preferred them to their own countries in the free and prosperous West.

Others have documented this phenomenon, such as Paul Hollander in various classic works, including Political Pilgrims (1981) and Anti-Americanism (1992). Here Jamie Glazov makes an attempt at exploring and explaining the Left’s love affair with terror and tyranny.

Glazov is very well qualified to do so, and not only because he has a PhD in history, specialising in US and Russian foreign policy. His personal story contributes much to this book. His parents were Soviet dissidents who fought against Communist tyranny and oppression.

Image of United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror
United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror by Array Amazon logo

They managed to escape to the US in 1972. Their initial taste of glorious freedom was soon soured when they learned that there were Western academics and intellectuals who actually hated them and the message they had to share. These Western apologists for Soviet murder and genocide wanted nothing to do with the Glazovs, and sought to denounce and demonise them in the strongest terms.

Back in the Soviet Union they had risked their lives to campaign for the millions who were being tortured and killed in the Gulag and psychiatric hospitals simply because of their political and religious beliefs. Yet in America they were being viciously attacked by an intelligentsia that loathed America while idolising Communist barbarism.

It was a shock the young Glazov never really recovered from, and here he seeks to assess and understand this most bizarre feature of Western life. And with the onset of militant Islam, he sees the whole scenario again being played out before his eyes.

The first half of this important book covers the earlier cases of Western fascination with, and blindness to, totalitarian nightmare states. The Soviet Union, Castros’ Cuba and Mao’s China were all objects of wild-eyed leftist venation and adoration.

Glazov reminds us of the words of the US ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph Davies, uttered during the height of Stalin’s murder of millions. He waxed eloquent in his love of Stalin with these words: Stalin’s “brown eye is exceedingly wise and gentle. A child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him.”

French writer Jean-Paul Sartre could say this about another murderous thug, Fidel Castro: “Castro is at the same time the island, the men, the cattle, and the earth. He is the whole island.” And Father Daniel Berrigan, another longstanding apologist for tyrants could say this of Hanoi’s prime minister Pham Van Dong: he is an individual “in whom complexity dwells…; a face of great intelligence, and yet also of great reserves of compassion…”

Or consider the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, who after capturing power in 1979 managed to carry out 8000 political executions in the next three years. They made the nation a place of torture, repression and dictatorship. Yet plenty of Western lefties fell at their feet in worship.

German writer Gunter Grass, who was shown a ‘prison’ which the Sandinistas wanted political pilgrims to see – not the actual prisons where inmates were beaten, starved, tortured and killed – came back with euphoric exhilaration: “The humane way in which sentences are carried out” he gushed, along with other sentimental sap.

Of course the Soviets had done just the same with the Gulag decades earlier, to fool gullible Westerners who came over for a look. Western lefties were just as ignorant and easily deceived in the 30s or 50s as they were in the 80s.

And they still are. The second half of this book looks at Islamic terrorism, and its Western apologists. There are plenty of leftists in the West who are convinced that Islamic terrorism either does not exist, or is all America’s fault.

Again Glazov offers plenty of examples. The September 11 atrocity provides plenty of quotes. Norman Mailer called the suicide hijackers “brilliant”. He excused the attack by saying, “Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel which consequently had to be destroyed”.

Susan Sontag assured us that the terrorist attack was the result of “specific American alliances and actions”. Film-maker Oliver Stone affirmed that 9/11 was a “revolt” and said the ensuing Palestinian celebrations were comparable to that of those seen in the French and Russian Revolutions.

Christian leader Tony Campolo could argue that 9/11 was a legitimate response to the Crusades. German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen described the 9/11 attacks as “the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos”. On and on the apologists for terror and tyranny go. And then there is the inherent anti-Semitism of so much of this as well.

For them Israel is always the enemy, and the Muslim and Arab populations can do no wrong. Consider the remarks of Mike Wallace concerning Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the annihilation of Israel: “He’s an impressive fellow this guy. He really is. He’s obviously smart as hell. . . . . You’ll find him an interesting man.”

These lefties offered more support for bin Laden and Saddam Hussein than they did George W. Bush. Film-maker Michael Moore denounced the US while extolling the terrorists: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow – and they will win.”

Glazov offers a chapter seeking to examine the psychological makeup of these leftists whose romance with tyranny and terror seems so hard to fathom. They are alienated from their own homelands, although seldom realise it. They espouse a secular religion, a secular utopian vision which speaks much of humanity but is happy to see individual humans crushed in the attempt to create their coercive utopia.

The West-hating Left seems to be a permanent feature of modern Western life. Now that the Communist revolution has lost its momentum, other causes must be found. The Islamist cause nicely does the trick. The same enemies are there, such as America, freedom, and affluence.

As this book reminds us, we really have two enemies to contend with: murderous totalitarian ideologies of every stripe, and their Western leftist support base. It is an insidious alliance which we all must be aware of. This book does a fine job of making that very clear indeed.

[1090 words]

8 Responses to A Review of United in Hate. By Jamie Glazov.

  • Thanks Bill.
    I have reviewed this important book in the latest issue of “Saltshakers”. In my undergraduate days I on one hand rejected Communism and abhorred the antics of the left, but I accepted their rhetoric that they were simply aiming for a better world. yet the track record of Communist repression and genocide was all too evident. In more recent years I have been driven to the view that leftist ideology has an insatiable love-affair with sadistic totalitarian regimes for their own sake, that leftist ideology is totalitarian at heart. Glazov’s book shows the what, how, and why. I believe it is a must-read, especially as the author is a former resident of the Soviet Union who fled Communist tyranny, only to come to the U.S. and have Marxist-leftist ideology constantly thrown in his face.
    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Leftists = “alienated from their homeland” [Glazov]?
    “leftists ideology is totalitarian at heart” [Murray A]?
    I recall that for the Communist “the means justify the end”.
    Such a viewpoint appears to be common with Islam and the Nazi philosophies. If the above have an element logic, then the western leftists is a distorted idealist who is unprepared to pay the price for his beliefs by enjoying the protections of western democracy rather than the mind dumbing slogans of totalitarian movements.

    Ray Robinson

  • “German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen described the 9/11 attacks as “the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos”. ”

    I think the composer repudiated the statement attributed to him. What he should have said was that Moslem regimes do not allow performances of his sort of meaningless, discordant music. No one should blame them.

    However you are right about how leftwing intellectuals were enamoured with Marxist totalitarian regimes. Many of them, especially existentialists, would not have academically survived in the Soviet Union or its satellites. Have you noticed how few Western intellectuals actually emigrated to the Soviet bloc, the workers’ paradise? They were not prepared to put their money where their mouths were.

    I would recommend Nadezhda Mandelstam’s biography of her husband Osip for anyone who wants a first hand harrowing account of how nasty life could be for intellectuals in the Soviet regime. Haven’t read Mandelstam for years but I think he referred to Stalin’s fingers as maggots.

    John Snowden

  • Is it not as simple as those who hate Jesus love the darkness. The West, through its Christian heritage represents the success of God kingdom on earth which, although it is the very thing that has given those who idealise darkness the freedom to blaspheme their forefathers publicly (for a time anyway), is anathema to them. To acknowledge the goodness of God to His people is so alien to their darkened hearts they would rather ignore real evil and call it good. The degree of rebellion againsts God’s kingdom and strong delusion is usually directly proportional to the amount of time spent cooped up in academia and not living out in the real world. Its really easy to believe in a political ideal if it supports your lifestyle and career. Take climate change scientists for example.
    Phil Twiss

  • Whilst I agree that the Socialist Left are amongst the very worse, that does not exclude criticism of the current model of capitalism. In fact, the Gosple is beyond ‘left’ or ‘right’. A better form of social and economic policy for a mixed economy within nations is found in biblical principles and teaching which has been developed by the Church. From Leo XIII through to the current Benedict XVI- their social encyclicals deal with working towards a much better kind of mixed economy that challenges and rejects things from either side of politics that harms human dignity and religious rights. Check out and read a little bit at a time, say five paragraphs a day of enyclicals such as the most current one released called VERITAS IN CARITATE. It is worth the effort but must be done slowly as it is jam-packed with many principles and suggestions for social action.
    Michael Webb

  • Thanks Michael

    Yes economic issues are important, and there is much to debate on the topic. But it may be a bit off target from this book and my review.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • There are a number of different types of Left wingers. I believe all left-wingers are in fact, to some extent mad, but with different degrees of madness. At one time, some years ago, many in the community would sit up and take notice of the leftist ravings of academics. They didn’t appreciate the fact that the brain has seven sections. One section of the brain might be developed to the point, where passing exams is a piece of cake for academics. Hovever from a another section of the same brain, evidence could emerge of a serious lack of ability in the common sense area. The “intelligentia” often lack the common sense of the blue collar worker and the farmer.

    I believe some of those who are identified as Lefties but seem benign, would, if given the opportunity from a very radical administration, become just as vicous as those
    Leftists found in Cuba or even Russia. After all they are quite happy now to see babies killed in the millions. And if only they could get their hands on the elderly with termnal illnesses.

    Also, Communists would have 30 times the blood on their hands than Nazis, yet, while “ex” communnists are gladly accepted and allowed to contribute to the public debate, there is no way an “ex” Nazi would get to the front door.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Michael Webb, a “mixed economy” is incoherent. Either the government uses force to impede a given voluntary economic transaction, or it doesn’t. The biblical function of government is restraining evil, by preventing coercion and fraud and enforcing conrtacts. Once the government goes beyond that role in one area, it’s hard to stop its tentacles reaching all over.

    It doesn’t sound promising that what you advocate is “criticism of the current model of capitalism.” What we have now is precisely the “mixed economy” that you advocate! As economist George Reisman pointed out in The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Present Crisis:

    “Government spending in the United States currently equals more than forty percent of national income …”

    “There are presently fifteen federal cabinet departments, nine of which exist for the very purpose of respectively interfering with housing, transportation, healthcare, education, energy, mining, agriculture, labor, and commerce, and virtually all of which nowadays routinely ride roughshod over one or more important aspects of the economic freedom of the individual. …”

    “The economic interference of today’s cabinet departments is reinforced and amplified by more than one hundred federal agencies and commissions, the most well known of which include, besides the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the FBI and CIA, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH, and NASA. …”

    “To complete this catalog of government interference and its trampling of any vestige of laissez faire, as of the end of 2007, the last full year for which data are available, the Federal Register contained fully seventy-three thousand pages of detailed government regulations. This is an increase of more than ten thousand pages since 1978, the very years during which our system, according to one of The New York Times articles quoted above, has been “tilted in favor of business deregulation and against new rules.” Under laissez-faire capitalism, there would be no Federal Register. …”

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

Leave a Reply