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United in Hate:
The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror
By Jamie Glazov
WND Books, $25.95, 264 pp.
How do the same Hollywood lefties who demonize Mormons for campaigning against Proposition 8, which would have approved gay marriages in California, turn around and embrace Islamists who execute homosexuals?
How does an icon of the New Left like Tom Hayden - the former Mr. Jane Fonda - who waxed rapturously about North Vietnam's promise of an atheist workers' paradise of equality, then endorse what would seem its polar opposite in radical Iraqi Shi'ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, whose ideology openly preaches religious tyranny and extreme inequality?
Or what about feminist icon Susan Sontag, darling of The New York Times Book Review, who promoted "free love" in America while lauding North Vietnam's repression of public displays of affection? She more recently defended the attacks on 9/11 by people representing the enslavement of women worldwide as a justified "result of American alliances and actions."
After the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon in 2001, when Islamists brought their religious war to the soil of America, most folks thought the United States finally had an enemy the political Left could and should get behind fighting.
To the bewilderment of observers, however, the side of the political spectrum that prides itself on its supposed history of "anti-fascism" ("Hitler-Stalin Pact? What Hitler-Stalin Pact?") has spent its time since 9/11 defending jihadists and other militant Muslims from the supposed warmongering of... the United States of America.
Jamie Glazov, author of the new book United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror, has an answer, and it's not merely that the Left hates America, and so, reflexively, supports its enemies.
Glazov's thesis, in a nutshell, is: The Left's hatred of America is not the cause, it's a symptom. Hard-core leftists hate simply for the sake of hate.
The outspoken leaders of the hard Left, Glazov documents, are not happy, contented people. They are as alienated from what they would scornfully call a "bourgeois" lifestyle as any suicide bomber.
As Glazov chronicles, they are invariably moral wrecks in their personal lives who lash out at anything that promotes the pursuit of real happiness in others. They fall in love with mass-murdering reprobates who propose utopia of any kind - though utopia is the cover motive, not the real attraction.
Glazov, editor of FrontPage Magazine, holds a PhD with a specialty in Russian foreign policy, but he also has a personal history that motivates him to wonder why people with modern Western privileges would gravitate toward old-world savagery.
Glazov recalls Eric Hofer, the legendary "longshoreman philosopher," who addressed the issue of the True Believer in the 1950s and updates the arguments for today's world. Hofer exposed pro-communists of his era as unbalanced fanatics, and Glazov finds this explains how true believers can switch from supporting one murderous ideology to another that seemingly has opposite goals.
This is the only satisfying explanation I've seen as to why devotees of Ho Chi Minh, Mao, Castro and Stalin would seamlessly transition their support to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syria's Bashar Assad and an assortment of jihadists.
There was once a certain logic for people who believed in socialism to be soft on communism. Such people, Bob Novak once stated, considered communist dictators to be "the bad boys of social justice." And while we know that the mass-murdering thugs of the Comintern were about no such thing, we could see how leftists could fall for it.
But that makes no sense when it comes to Islamofascism, jihad and Shari'a law. What can it be that attracts the hard Left to these ultimate bad boys of social injustice?
The common thread is violence and horror, which, Glazov concludes, "is what attracts him in the first place."
As Alfred the butler explains to Bruce Wayne in 2008's top box-office hit The Dark Knight, "Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
So, like moths to the flame, the hard Left is drawn to totalitarian dictators in a bizarre death cult. From The New York Times's Walter Duranty's covering up Josef Stalin's forced famine in the Ukraine to Noam Chomsky's denying Pol Pot's atrocities in Cambodia to Shirley MacLaine's deification of Mao at the height of the Cultural Revolution and Norman Mailer's pilgrimage to Cuba, the Left's genuflecting at the feet of mass murder goes on.
In a league of his own is the most recent example, Hollywood darling Sean Penn. In the past few years, Madonna's ex has circled the globe to support Iraqi terrorists, the mullahs of Iran and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.
Then he comes home to win an Oscar for Milk, which promotes martyred sainthood for a man who would be summarily executed by any of the regimes and thugs Penn is lauding.
When Penn was married to the Material Girl and punching out photographers, he was scorned as Exhibit A of Hollywood excess by the tabloids and the media. Now that he visits genocidal thugs and says nice things about them, he is a legit "social commentator?" Puh-leez!
Besides a hatred for America, Glazov explores two other common threads of the communist and Islamofascist movements: anti-Semitism and the subjugation of women. From Stalin to Osama bin Laden, the hatred of Jews is a staple of those leaning toward genocide.
Less obvious, however, is how the Marxists and the jihadists share a taste for controlling women, since feminism is so identified with the Left. In his chapter, "To Hate a Woman," Glazov recounts the horrors suffered by women in the Islamic world. Before 9/11, feminist groups had a nascent campaign building against the anti-woman policies of Muslim regimes, with a particular focus on the Taliban in Afghanistan and female genital mutilation.
Now that such regimes are openly at war with America, female genital mutilation is carried out in Britain without a peep from feminists (or arrests by police cowed by political correctness), while the burqa is trumpeted as a liberating protest against Western imperialism by campus feminists.
Similarly, dictatorial control of women's sexual choices in communist regimes from Vietnam to Romania was never a subject of feminist protest, while China's forced abortion policy was lauded in chillingly Orwellian fashion by feminist groups devoted to "choice."
Over the years, conservatives have thought we could change these fanatics by exposing the atrocities committed by the objects of their veneration. But, as Glazov documents time after time after time, it is after the mass murder of a Mao, a Castro or a Saddam is exposed that the Left cranks up the celebrity support machine.
United in Hate is a revolutionary book, in the best sense of the word. It gives a coherent explanation for a much-remarked-about phenomenon that most commentators have merely used to score irony points.
The writer is a regular columnist for FrontPage Magazine and an occasional contributor to National Review.