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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Idiot Ronin

This Op-Ed by Nobel winner Doris Lessing (hat tip:Instapundit) reminds me of thoughts I've had for years about the connection between the visceral anti-Americanism of the modern "intellectual" left, and the humiliation and fall of Soviet Communism in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

"Useful Idiot" - There is a phrase that was common during the Cold War: "useful idiot". Though the origin is debated, the phrase was commonly used as a label for leftist liberals in the West during the Cold War. These liberals seemed willing to excuse anything Communists did, however horrific, and to jump at any and every opportunity to point out, exaggerate, and even invent out of whole cloth accusations about the supposed shortcomings of Western societies and governments. The "idiocy" being referred to was based on the fact these people were perhaps unknowingly helping a vicious enemy attack their own society.

"Ronin" - "The Forty-Seven Ronin" is a Japanese story about 47 samurai whose lord was murdered by a rival. The 47 had been unable to protect him and they felt great shame. For a year after the murder they pretended to scatter, some seeming to become criminals, others mercenaries (ronin), others drunks and vagabonds. Then one night they mustered secretly at the castle of the murderer of their liege lord and attacked. They overpowered the castle guard and slew the man that had murdered their master. They then all committed seppuku (ritual suicide).

When I think of some of the modern Western critics of the current war I can't help but think some of the useful idiots of the Cold War must have just been biding their time, like the 47 ronin, while waiting for a chance to attack America. America is, after all, the power most directly responsible for the death of the idiots' late master, the Soviet Union. Yesterday's "useful idiots" have become today's "idiot ronin".

I kind of like the label. I wonder how I can get it to catch on?

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