I Miss Port Huron


In the annals of "people taking themselves too seriously," between Tom Hayden's autobiography and George Clooney's Oscar speech, room must be made for "The Euston Manifesto." The British lefty magazine The New Statesman is hosting the wan testament, composed over the last year by "20 or so similarly minded people" who had met in a pub near London's Euston station. It's apparently crafted to "invite debate" and "call for a progressive realignment." Unfortunately, it reads like a mish-mash of blog posts and Joe Lieberman applause lines.

The EM takes some welcome shots at the left, at its apologies for international communism and dictatorship (read: Che T-shirts). But it doesn't skimp on the goo-goo international statism, either. We're told that "labour rights are human rights" and that we need robust "fair trade" policies pushed through "in a manner consistent with environmentally sustainable growth." If this stuff is flatlining when the guy from Coldplay says it, I doubt 20 guys in a pub are going to shock it to life.

But that's not important—most of the EM is an apologia for military intervention. If a state tortures, murders or slaughters (yes, both) its citizens, or if it fails to meet "their most basic needs of life," then "its claim to sovereignty is forfeited and there is a duty upon the international community of intervention and rescue." Many paragraphs are devoted to an idea that can be summed up: "We're liberals, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't nuke Iran."

In 2003, Jonathan Rauch took stock of the sorry state of left-wing ideology at the start of the Iraq occupation.