Monsters and The Left Thinks Again

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (UPI) — Earlier this year, a group of ‘small-l’ liberals, left-wingers and progressives came together in Britain to produce a document called the Euston Manifesto. It was a statement of principles in support of democracy, freedom of speech and ideas, and firm opposition to terrorism, all forms of totalitarianism and all soft-headed apologies for it.

Now it has found an echo in the United States, where a number of leading academics and intellectuals have signed the Euston Manifesto, and issued their own statement on American liberalism that endorses it. The original British document was the work of a small group of mainly leftist academics, swiftly joined by members of Parliament, including former Minister for Europe Denis MacShane, journalists and trade unionists.

There are three interesting and significant features to this development. The first is that while the British group makes an absolute commitment to openness and free debate, it stresses that there are indeed enemies on the Left and that quislings and appeasers and apologists for terror should be called by their proper names.

‘Drawing the lesson of the disastrous history of left apologetics over the crimes of Stalinism and Maoism, as well as more recent exercises in the same vein (some of the reaction to the crimes of 9/11, the excuse-making for suicide terrorism, the disgraceful alliances lately set up inside the ‘anti-war’ movement with illiberal theocrats) we reject the notion that there are no opponents on the Left,’ the manifesto says. ‘We reject, similarly, the idea that there can be no opening to ideas and individuals to our right.’

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