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A Matter of PrincipleHumanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq$
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Thomas Cushman, Gary Marx, and Christine Williams

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520244863

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520244863.001.0001

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Ethical Correctness and the Decline of the Left

Ethical Correctness and the Decline of the Left

(p.179) 11 Ethical Correctness and the Decline of the Left
A Matter of Principle

Jonathan Rée

University of California Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of the Russian Revolution which had become a political symbol as well as a historic event. The Leninists were far too willing to follow the classic philosophical line about politics. The tradition of political leftism as distinct from ethical liberalism came close to collapse toward the end of the twentieth century. After Iraq, the left was no longer a band of committed activists with a debatable analysis and a contentious program; instead, it had dissolved into a broad popular front making common cause with the prophets of doom. While the liberal position was consistent and predictable, the left almost completely failed to mount any distinct arguments for joining the “antiwar coalition.” The left is in danger of a complete loss of nerve when confronted with the appalling costs of action and the sobering thought that the costs of inaction may be even greater.

Keywords:   Russian Revolution, Left, Lennists, political leftism, Iraq, ethical liberalism, antiwar coalition

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