The Unworldly Left


Lefty blogger Michael Totten thinks there's "an intellectual weakness on the left" that needs to be acknowledged. Many on the left, he's concluded, aren't as worldly as they like to think. Yes, he writes, they may have certain more cosmopolitan cultural tastes, but "If you want to find a person who knows the history of pre-war Nazi Germany, the Middle East during the Cold War, or the partition of India and Pakistan, you?re better off looking to the right than to the left."

Totten thinks the left lacks historical worldliness because "Liberals are builders and conservatives are defenders. Liberals want to build a good and just society. Conservatives defend what is already built and established." Thus they've pursued different sorts of worldiness.

Totten's view has already received support from at least one other liberal blogger. Is this a potential fissure involving pro-war liberals (Totten was one) reacting to anti-war liberals? Totten's case suggests that the debate over the war has at least played a role in his thinking. Anyway, the left is rarely accused of "unworldliness," much less of being unworldly because it's the left.

Thanks to Daniel W. Drezner.