One reason I feel relieved not to think of myself as left-wing any more is that I don't have to put up with the intolerance of my ex-comrades. I'm particularly tired of people who earn four times as much money as I do - and who take a great deal of pleasure in spending it - telling me I'm a sell-out. Neocons tend be portrayed by the media as fanatics, but I find they're usually much more reasonable in the flesh and in print. (In the case of the older ones, it's often because they're reformed left-wingers). So I feel at home with them.

I noticed the other day that Normblog is having problems with zealots who think he's betraying the cause. Perhaps he can find some solace in this letter from today's NY Times Book Review. It tells how veteran leftist Irving Howe was hounded by counter-culture fanatics while teaching on the West Coast in the late 1960s:

"He drove every day to Stanford to have lunch with her. And while walking on campus he was bombarded, at least a dozen times, 'with hooting, hissing and taunting.' It was 'hard to know how to react,' Howe wrote to his old friend Max Shachtman. 'I'm a middle-aged man, with a pot belly!' But on one of those days when he was being followed by a group of S.D.S. students chanting hostile slogans and led by a fellow named Cohen, Howe was asked by what right he called himself a radical. To this Irving finally responded. He wheeled about and shouted: 'Cohen, you know what you're going to end up as — a dentist! And I'll remain a radical long after you start pulling teeth.' Cohen blanched, Howe remembered later. In the 1990's Cohen, though not a dentist, was a lawyer working within the system."
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/live-and-let-live-and-left-one-reason.html|||1/08/2005 01:39:00 pm|||||||||