Thursday, February 20, 2003

But do they want to win?

Robert Fisk is probably the blogosphere's most quoted columnist, although certainly not the most agreed with. The routine trashing of Fisk is probably due to the fact that he is more reasonable and knowledgable than almost all other left wing anti-interventionists. It seems that Fisk is different because he wants to win the argument rather than simply be smug about how morally pure he was, as shown in this article. It argues that the antiwar movement is not even trying to connect with the available support in the hinterland:

The people with whom these liberal academics should be building bridges are the truck-drivers and bell-hops and Amtrak crews, the poor blacks and the cops whose families provide the cannon fodder for America's overseas military adventures. But that, of course, would force intellectuals to emerge from the sheltered, tenured world of seminars and sit-ins and deal directly with those whose opinions they wish to change.

When I made this very point at Harvard and several other universities, I was told, rather patronisingly, that these people – the phrase was almost identical – had "so little information" or are "not very informed". This is, in fact, untrue. I have heard as much sense about the Middle East from a train crew en route from Washington to Georgia and from a waiter in a St Louis diner as I have from the good folks of North Carolina.

The point was also made in a Spectator article (sadly the Spectator is off line at the moment) about the Stoke Newington Against the War group, with shades of Citizen Smith.


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