Where once they had stood for opposite conceptions of human nature and radically different visions of society, today the terms “left” and “right” are words in search of meaning. With the demise of the socialist camp and the declining role of ideology in the political arena, such distinctions have lost much of their historic relevance, their content diluted, their parameters blurred. With the ideological erosion of the old political parties, politics has turned into the art of manipulating public opinion in a Machiavellian world that divorces politics from ethics and rejects substance for form, great goals for image and sound bite.
The “war on terror” unleashed following the 9/11 tragedy has transformed the world into a battlefield ruled by the logic of naked force and nihilistic force. No limits are recognised, be they moral, legal, or political. Force governs supreme in its Hobbesian universe where only the fittest survive. There are no rules, except “might is right”. There are no geographic boundaries either. The parameters are perpetually shifting. Every battle leads to another. Every front begets another.
Tony Blair has a unique talent for tipping facts upside down. The root of problem does not lie, as scores of independent thinkthanks say, in his policy of tailing Bush in his absurd wars of aggression: it is in Britain’s cultural diversity, a scourge that the left created, and which Blair now must uproot.
Are we fated to spend the rest of our lives suspended between grief and foreboding, between the scenes of carnage and devastation over there, and fear of the same visited on us over here, between George Bush’s crusades and Osama bin Ladin’s holy wars? Is there no way out of this spiralling madness?
‘What appears to be common to all the young men [who hit New York, Washington, and London ] in question is the striking weakness of their religious culture and their profound ignorance of Islamic theology, not the reverse.’