Sunday, April 23, 2006

Arguing over a corpse?

Martin Kettle, like a number who have declined to sign the Euston Manifesto nevertheless finds much he can agree with:
"It is right about the core things - democracy, liberty, universality. But it is also right about the immoral excuses sometimes offered on behalf of reactionary terrorist actions under the "my enemy's enemy must be my friend" rubric; right too about the disproportionate indignation about unjustifiable acts on the western side as compared with similar acts on the anti-western side; about the susceptibility towards anti-semitism in some discussion of Middle-Eastern issues; about the numbskull dishonesty of the left about its own crimes and failures; and about the need to champion, not scorn, the principle of international humanitarian intervention."
Although he is aware that the Manifesto is not, as it has falsely been represented elsewhere, a 'prowar' document, he takes issue with the perceived failure to "properly acknowledge the historic rupture represented by Bush."

But, arguing as he does from a centrist position, his principal objection is simply one of irrelevance:
"(T)he focus is all on reclaiming a British left which is obsessed with the past, has nothing important to say about the future, and for which only a small minority are ever likely to vote. But what precisely is the point of that?"
Why is attempting to predict the future the one habit that lefties and former lefties find the hardest to give up? Prophecy: the nicotine of the commentariat. Leaving that aside, I have to confess the general point has occurred to me more than once: in the great scheme of things I don't matter, the people I conduct arguments with don't matter, still less the people insane enough to run blogs that watch other blogs* - so why bother?

I put this to a learned friend and erstwhile colleague of mine. He suggested two reasons: a) Utilitarian: it can be fun b) because somehow it all filters into the mainstream.

Too limited for some but that'll do me. Because often it is - and somehow it does.

Update: Dunno how, exactly - but it does.

*Filed under, "Damn minds, losing thereof".

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