What's Left? (2020)

What's Left? Nick Cohen What s Left From the witty and excoriating voice of journalist Nick Cohen a powerful and irreverent dissection of the agonies idiocies and compromises of mainstream liberal thought He comes from the Left When h
  • Title: What's Left?
  • Author: Nick Cohen
  • ISBN: 9780007229697
  • Page: 216
  • Format: Paperback
What's Left? Nick Cohen From the witty and excoriating voice of journalist Nick Cohen, a powerful and irreverent dissection of the agonies, idiocies and compromises of mainstream liberal thought He comes from the Left When he was a child, his mother would search supermarket shelves for politically reputable citrus fruit, and despair Aged 13, when he learned his kind and thoughtful English teacFrom the witty and excoriating voice of journalist Nick Cohen, a powerful and irreverent dissection of the agonies, idiocies and compromises of mainstream liberal thought He comes from the Left When he was a child, his mother would search supermarket shelves for politically reputable citrus fruit, and despair Aged 13, when he learned his kind and thoughtful English teacher voted Conservative, he nearly fell off his chair To be good, you had to be on the Left Today he s no less confused When he looks around him, in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, he sees a community of Left leaning liberals standing on their heads Why do apologies for a militant Islam standing for everything the liberal Left is against come from a section of it After the US UK wars in Bosnia and Kosovo against Milosevic s ethnic cleansers, why were some on the Left denying the existence of Serb concentration camps Why is Palestine a cause for the liberal Left, but not, for instance, China, the Sudan, Zimbabwe or North Korea Why can t those who say they support the Palestinian cause tell you what type of Palestine they d like to see After the 9 11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, why were you as likely to read that a conspiracy of Jews controlled US or UK foreign policy in a liberal literary journal as in a neo Nazi rag It s easy to know what the Left is fighting against the evils of Bush and corporations but what and who are they fighting for As he tours the follies of the Left, he asks us to reconsider what it means to be liberal today With the angry satire of Swift, he reclaims the values of democracy and solidarity that united the movement against fascism, asking What s Left.
What's Left? Nick Cohen

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One thought on “What's Left?

  1. Paul Bryant

    This brave and for me personally difficult book begins with the following observation On 15 February 2003 about a million liberal minded people marched through London to oppose the overthrow of a fascist regime It was the biggest protest in British history The scene was replicated throughout Europe as millions of liberals marched to oppose the overthrow of a fascist dictator called Saddam Hussain To state the obvious aren t liberals supposed to be against fascist dictators So Cohen begins the gr [...]

  2. Ian "Marvin" Graye

    A Message for You NickyBelow is a blog I wrote in February, 2007 in response to the publication of extracts from the book in the Murdoch press.Guardian or Turncoat It s been both amusing and thought provoking to read extracts from What s Left How the Liberals Lost Their Way , by Nick Cohen.To be honest, I can t understand what his point is from the extracts that I ve seen.I assume he is saying that Western left liberals have so disappointed and embarrassed him, that he s going to cease being a l [...]

  3. Mike

    In What s Left, Nick Cohen takes the view that in the early twenty first century the left has lost its way The main reason behind this, he argues, is that unbridled capitalism has won, market economies have proved themselves to be the best form of economic government and the left is now consumed with hatred and bitterness over the death of socialism As a reaction to this, the left has now reshaped itself as fundamentally anti American Anything that America supports the left must hate and this, h [...]

  4. Ed

    For some years now Nick Cohen has been tracking the troubling rise of a breed of notionally left leaning people, harbouring views which are incoherent and sit somewhere on the spectrum between offensive and repulsive His Observer column has articulated this phenomenon eloquently than I could hope to Many is the article I have read and thought that neatly encapsulates my own beliefs Except whenever I try to express the viewpoint it comes out as Nnngh , whereas Cohen has the gift of concisely sum [...]

  5. Corey

    Mind blowing What s Left is a scathing criticism of today s far left, the growing and increasingly mainstream faction of political activists who have gone so far left to come full circle and end up back on the right, supporting and apologizing for fascist regimes or any policy, individual or fanaticism as long as it is anti Democratic and specifically anti American As someone with a strong liberal, left wing identity although I ve never been politically active, just had lots of in hindsight, uni [...]

  6. Gary

    I was thrilled to read this book, discovering there are writers who feel like me about the moral rottenness of the post modern left I supported the war by President Bush and Minister Blair to free the Iraqi people from the genocidal Saddam Hussein s blood soaked tyranny, a cruel despot who had killed with chemical weapons thousands of Kurds and Shia Marsh Arabs I was incredulous and angry that millions marched around the world to protect this modern day Hitler claiming they were the custodians o [...]

  7. Erik Graff

    Nick Cohen evinces the perspectives of Christopher Hitchens without his skill as a writer While Hitchens primarily writes with a focus on the United States, his current residence, Cohen works primarily from the British standpoint.Briefly stated, Cohen a argument is that some persons and groups identified with liberalism and the left seem to have moved towards agreement with some persons and groups on the right over the last decade or so, particularly as regards foreign policy matters and especia [...]

  8. Phil

    MyGod, but this is a remarkable book a polemic in favour of a consistent, secular and humane left liberalism which takes as its starting point the disarray of the Western left in the face of Islamist terrorism and the 2003 Iraq war Cohen dry, witty, impassioned forensically examines the confusion of his fellow Leftists faced with the monumental bad behaviour of people they had been conditioned to consider oppressed The absurdity of self proclaimed Leftists nominally supporters of human rights, f [...]

  9. Doug

    Cohen s thesis the Western left has lost its center in the foreign policy arena and is now merely oppositional We oppose anything the US does, and we support, or make excuses for, any regime that s anti Western , even if that regime is totalitarian, theocratic, or reactionary He s correct At present, for example, one can hear lots of apologies and excuses from the radical left for the regime in Iran, even though they re privatizing the oil industry, allowing if not participating in violence agai [...]

  10. Karla

    Over the last few years, I ve gotten pretty annoyed by the social justice warriordom cultural relativism of Tumblr and Twitter and the ideological authoritarian world of the millennial and their allies hive mind.That dissatisfaction has prompted me to check out authors, thinkers and social media personalities who span a wide range of political and ideological beliefs, but have at their core an attachment to Enlightenment values Cohen gives the reader a history lesson in the evolution of the poli [...]

  11. Jeffrey

    Nothing terribly surprising here Cohen has three main themes 1 The far left are nut jobs 2 Be critical of your fellow lefties because you really aren t all on the same page.3 If you re going to criticize someone don t look for moral equivalences These are all things I already knew.Besides that Cohen overplays his hand in a number of places, at one point saying that the Baathists were fascist right from the word go they were nationalist independent way back when and the fascism sprouted later He [...]

  12. Elena

    I thought it was a different kind of book and, as a leftist person as I think of me, I read the first 20pgs totally disbelieving what Cohen was saying Just as an example, at pg17 he wrote why will students hear a leftish post modern theorist defend the exploitation of women in traditional cultures but nothing a crusty conservative don Why he wrote so, when femminists lobbies put President Clinton under pressure to stop courting the talebans and go fight them in 1992

  13. Edmole

    Very interesting to go back to this, which covers a large swathe of the left s disgusting moral double standards during George W s time in office I hit the wall with engaging with the madness of supporting jihadis and blaming small town Americans for all the ills of the world about two years ago I worried while reading the book that I was reading it to merely reinforce my existing prejudices, but Cohen is clear and rational enough that this doesn t become an indulgent polemic.

  14. Krishan

    Cohen says everything I wanted to say, but didn t have the guts at the time The real pleasure here is to see a man turning his sights against his own political comrades over a matter of principle Cohen lays out a sickening litany of symptoms that add up to a depressing tendency of left wingers to abandon all principles just when they matter most.A must read for any who think that American Western power is the worst of all possible worlds.

  15. George Millo

    One of those books where you put it down and look around at a world that makes several shades sense than it used to And you feel amazed that you didn t realise all of this sooner, and you wonder how you ever coped when you were too na ve and innocent to know the truth of Cohen s words.

  16. Daniel Laskowski

    It s now a good few years old, this book, but the problems with the Left so presciently identified here have gone only from bad to worse It s an essential read for anybody who still scratches their head over what the hell has gone wrong in the politics of the Western world.

  17. Antony

    I m not into politics I ve never seen the point of listing politics as a hobby or an interest It s all around us, affecting every part of our lives, whether we like it or not having it as a hobby would be like calling breathing a hobby.Possibly because of this, there is as much drivel written on politics as on any other subject around, across printed and social media, and let s not leave out academia after all the problem with social science, is that it s not a science at all.Trying to filter su [...]

  18. Kyle

    A decimating critique of the illiberal Left by a passionate, and angry, actual liberal who really knows how to write, and think So, what s left of the Left after Nick Cohen s scathing analysis Only the increasingly maligned principles see eustonmanifesto the euston and Enlightenment values that the Left has forgotten it s supposed to stand for Much of the Left now hates these and the people who still stand for them almost as much as it hates white people, especially the working class, and the We [...]

  19. Mars Cheung

    The contempt for universal standards of judgement suited the liberalism of the late twentieth century which placed an inordinate emphasis on respecting cultural difference and opposing integration even if the culture in question was anti liberal and integration would bring new freedoms and prosperity It fitted neatly with a form of postcolonial guilt that held that not only were we wrong to force western rationality or western science down other people s throats, but that their rationality or th [...]

  20. Alistaire King

    The problem of the LeftNick Cohen dissects the mess the Left has got itself into For too many on the left they seem to be full of self loathing of their own western values and a blind anti Americanism A belief in relativism which is used to negate universal rights which the Left is supposed to uphold For some it s better to be supporting a dictator or reactionary theocratic regime just because they oppose the United States I consider myself to be politically to the Left of centre so to see many [...]

  21. Martin Berman-Gorvine

    Essential Reading on the Moral Bankruptcy of Contemporary Left LiberalismAs a disillusioned man of the Liberal Left myself, I find Nick Cohen s Britain centric account compelling If you want to know why the liberals have been so helpless in the face of the populist racist threat, here is an excellent if dispiriting place to start.

  22. Daniel Picard

    I am not heavily interested in politics and before reading this book I knew that left was liberal and right was conservative but that was about it After traversing numerous significant political and global events, I have a deeper understanding of the left and right and how the extremes of each side are quite similar.

  23. Joel Mellinger

    Essential readingIt s almost as though people on the left are reading this as a script It s brilliantly observed.A tour de force.

  24. Chris Quartly

    A very well written book which gives one or, rather, should give one , pause for self reflection on staying consistent with one s principles.

  25. Tiredstars

    I m not sure how best to edit down 1600 words I ve written on What s Left to a concise review.I d consider myself on the left, so the book s critique is personal, but I m also uninvolved enough to be able to to have the luxury of not being too committed.Cohen s main thesis goes something like this The left has forgotten that there are worse things than liberal democracy I would include, though Cohen doesn t, that there are worse things than war The left has lost the ability to criticize the bad [...]

  26. Joanna b

    Trying to figure out how things went so far up the creek so I read this Didn t agree with everything here, but he asks some solid questions and makes some good points.

  27. Benjy

    I really wanted to like this book As a self described leftist who is often uncomfortable with the conformism, ideological rigidity, posturing and hypocrisy on the left, I was eager to read a critique of the left, primarily in the UK, by one of its own All these faults exist on the right as well, of course, it s just that I don t care about them as much there, because that s not where I belong.There are some great anecdotes in What s Left about the inanity and sometimes insanity of some of Britai [...]

  28. Anywavewilldo Anywavewilldo

    I think this book is an important critique of the British Left and one that reads a bit like a tough love intervention for a movement that had become an addict for certain destructive rhetoric.I d been thinking incoherently for a long while about the cowardice of the left on multiculturalism as opposed to anti racism and cultural relativism this book has helped me order my thoughts I think it makes sense to see Islamism as fascism for example at the same time as being able to actively oppose ant [...]

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