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From the Pen of David Horowitz: November 19, 2009

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Posted on November 19 2009 1:49 am
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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[Richard ]Rorty views the Vietnam War as the decisive event converting the American left to the Marxist revolutionary paradigm. He describes the war as “an atrocity of which Americans should be deeply ashamed.” Along with the “endless humiliation inflicted on African-Americans,” the War persuaded the New Left, which had previously recognized the “errors” of Marxism, that something was “deeply wrong with their country, and not just mistakes correctable by reforms.” As a result, they became neo-Marxists and revolutionaries.

In Rorty’s view, that revolutionary vision is now irretrievably dead, killed by the failures of 20th Century utopias and the non-market economies on which they were based. The fall of Communism made Marxism untenable. Rorty is realist enough to recognize this truth, but remains leftist enough to believe that rather than vindicating its capitalist opponents, its death offers new opportunities for the left to advance its socialist agendas. With Communism no longer an issue, the previously divided factions of the left can now unite in a new version of the old Popular Front, the anti-fascist coalition between Stalinists and liberals of the 1930s. According to Rorty, it is time to dispense with distinctions like “Old Left,” and “New Left,” which once reflected differing attitudes towards the Soviet bloc. It is also time to erase the distinction between socialists and liberals, since it is easy to see that the two share similar egalitarian goals, once the (metaphysical) idea of overthrowing capitalism is abandoned.

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