I am indebted to the indispensible Tangled Web for alerting me to Cohen's new book What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way.
A quote from Derbyshire's piece on the book:
In Ian McEwan’s novel ‘Saturday’, the protagonist Henry Perowne watches as demonstrators gather for the massive anti-war march of February 2003. He is struck, and slightly disturbed, by the levity of the crowd. ‘Everyone is thrilled to be out together on the streets – people are hugging themselves, it seems, as well as each other.’ The protestors may be right, Perowne muses: leaving Saddam’s sanguinary dictatorship in place might, just, be preferable to aerial bombing and invasion. But they ought to be ‘sombre’ in this view – it’s a dreadful moral calculus, after all, that weighs summary execution and ‘occasional genocide’ against the hazards of regime change.
The marchers’ placards and slogans catch Perowne’s eye too. Some belong to the Islamist group that helped to organise the march, an outfit, Perowne remembers, which believes that ‘apostasy from Islam was an offence punishable by death.’ Others bear the legend ‘Not in My Name’, a phrase whose ‘cloying self-regard suggests a bright new world of protest, with the fussy consumers of shampoos and soft drinks demanding to feel good, or nice.’
There is an extract from the book at The Observer, from which I quote:
It is not novel to say that socialism is dead. My argument is that its failure has brought a dark liberation to people who consider themselves to be on the liberal left. It has freed them to go along with any movement however far to the right it may be, as long as it is against the status quo in general and, specifically, America. I hate to repeat the overused quote that 'when a man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything', but there is no escaping it. Because it is very hard to imagine a radical leftwing alternative, or even mildly radical alternative, intellectuals in particular are ready to excuse the movements of the far right as long as they are anti-Western.
Let's pray that this book from this well-known recovering Left-Liberal, pink-diaper baby will have an impact on the UK.