The United Hates of America

Jamie Glazov's United in Hate is a serious book and deserves serious attention. Mulling it over, I recalled reading a newspaper article about some domestic calamity or other that had befallen the United States and tripping over a providential typo -- the United States was misspelled as the "Untied States," an apt metathesis or anagram. Which fits in pretty well with Glazov's argument and which suggests another felicitous misprint we might stumble across one of these days: the "United Hates of America."

For the U.S. is a country that seems to be increasingly at war, not with the hostile nations of the world that wish it harm, but with itself: the electoral gulf between red and blue states; the growing procedural animosity between Democrats and Republicans, mirroring the ideological conflict between liberals and conservatives; the unprecedented legal threat that the current administration is levying against its predecessor's anti-terrorist interrogation methods, which promises even further discord and self-division; the friction between the mainstream press and the blogosphere, with the former tending on the whole to suppress information and the latter to unearth it; and especially the long and destabilizing campaign of the American Left against the political interests of its own country and its rush to embrace the dictatorial agendas of America's most resolute enemies. In the current geopolitical context, the most pronounced subset of this zealous campaign is the "unholy alliance" (to use David Horowitz's phrase) between the radical Left and the Islamic Right, which is a major theme of Glazov's book.

There are, of course, many other excellent books on the general subject that United in Hate is addressing. I might mention in passing such works as David Pryce-Jones' The Closed Circle, Paul Hollander's Political Pilgrims, David Horowitz's The Politics of Bad Faith, Phyllis Chesler's The Death of Feminism, Mary Habek's Knowing the Enemy, Nick Cohen's What's Left, Mark Steyn's America Alone, Robert Spencer's Stealth Jihad, Kenneth Timmerman's Shadow Warriors -- and even Saul Bellow's To Jerusalem and Back, where we read the following prescient passage:

But the connection of democratic nations with the civilization that formed them is growing loose and queer. They seem to have forgotten what they are about. They seem to be experimenting or gambling with their liberties, unwittingly preparing themselves for totalitarianism, or perhaps not quite consciously willing it.

This was written in 1975 and could have served as an epigraph to United in Hate.

What Glazov has done in carrying on the work of his intellectual compatriots is to narrow and intensify the beam of their concern, laser-like. He directs his scrutiny to the love affair of the radical Left, and even large segments of the liberal Left, with the very forces that would destroy them, and he does this with a relentless, unswerving focus, buttressed by a veritable profusion of specific, high-profile examples and case studies. And he stays on message with such fierce and unwavering concentration that the reader has no choice but to keep pace. Mental coffee breaks are out of the question.

The result is devastating. The only resistance that those unsympathetic to his thesis can mount is to respond ad hominem and slander the messenger, for his examples cannot be wished away and his analysis seems the only conceivable means of making sense of the leftist orgy of national treason, betrayal of genuine liberal principles, and passionate support of tyrants and demagogues. Patriotism may often be "the last refuge of a scoundrel," as Dr. Johnson remarked, but whether or not this is so, I would add that treason is the act that always bears his signature.

For Glazov, the political believer, that is, the man or woman of the sanctimonious Left, is estranged from real human relationships. Glazov writes: "the believer attempts to fill the void left by the lack of real human connection with a supposed love for humanity as a whole." He calls this psychological aberration, this proneness to utopian reveries of perfect consummations at the expense of concrete human experience, "negative identification." By this he intends that "a person who has failed to identify positively with his own environment subjugates his individuality to a powerful, authoritarian entity, through which he vicariously experiences a feeling of power and purpose." The political believer feels swept up in the luminous project of building a new and equitable world in which all social distinctions and economic disparities are expunged -- regardless of the cost in human corpses littering the road to the golden city.

The consequence of this species of "totalitarian puritanism" -- of the need to redesign human nature and recreate society to consort with an ideal archetype that exists nowhere but in the empyrean of human desire or the Platonic realm of supersensual forms -- is ruthlessly destructive and accounts for the unseemly devotion of Western fellow travelers with the one-party despotisms of the Soviet Union, Communist China, North Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and Cuba.