After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the twin towers and Pentagon, when Islamofascists brought their religious war to the soil of America, most folks thought the United States finally had an enemy the political left could and should get behind fighting.
To the bewilderment of observers, however, the side of the political spectrum that prides itself on its supposed history of "antifascism" has spent its time since 9/11 defending jihadists and other militant Muslims.
Jamie Glazov, author of the new book, "United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror," has an answer: The left's hatred of America is not the cause, it's just a symptom. Hard-core leftists hate simply for the sake of hate.
The outspoken leaders of the hard left, are not happy, contented people. They are as alienated from what they would scornfully called a "bourgeois" lifestyle as any suicide bomber.
As Glazov chronicles, they are invariably moral wrecks in their personal life who lash out at anything that promotes the pursuit of real happiness in others. They fall in love with mass-murdering reprobates who propose utopia of any kind — though utopia is the cover motive, not the real attraction.
Glazov, editor of Frontpage Magazine, hold a Ph.D. with a specialty in Russian foreign policy but also has a personal history that motivates him to wonder why people with modern Western privileges would gravitate toward old world savagery.
Glazov recalls Eric Hofer, the legendary "longshoreman philosopher," who addressed the issue of the True Believer in the 1950s and updates the arguments for today's world.
Hofer exposed pro-communists of his era as unbalanced fanatics, and Glazov finds this explains how True Believers can switch from supporting one murderous ideology to another that seemingly has opposite goals.
There was once a certain logic for people who believed in socialism to be soft on communism. Such people, Bob Novak once stated, considered communist dictators to be "the bad boys of social justice." And while we know that the mass-murdering thugs of the Comintern were about no such thing, we could see how the left could fall for it.
But that makes no sense when it comes to Islamofascism, jihad and Shariah law. What can it be that attracts the hard left to these ultimate criminals?
Violence and horror, Glazov concludes, "is what attracts him in the first place."
So, like moths to the flame, the hard left is drawn to totalitarian dictators in a bizarre death cult. From Walter Duranty's (from The New York Times) covering up Josef Stalin's forced famine in the Ukraine to Noam Chomsky's denying Pol Pot's atrocities in Cambodia to Shirley MacLaine's deification of Mao at the height of the Cultural Revolution and Norman Mailer's pilgrimage to Cuba, the left's genuflecting at the feet of mass murder goes on.
One need not go far for a current-day example: In the past few years, Hollywood's Sean Penn has circled the globe to support Iraqi terrorists, the mullahs of Iran and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.
Penn won an Oscar for "Milk," which promotes martyred sainthood for a man who would be summarily executed by any of the regimes and thugs Penn is lauding.
Besides a hatred for America, Glazov explores two other common threads of the communist and Islamofascist movements: anti-Semitism and the subjugation of women. From Stalin to Osama bin Laden, the hatred of Jews is a staple of those leaning toward genocide.
Less obvious, however, is how the Marxists and the jihadists share a taste for controlling women, since feminism is so identified with the left. In his chapter, "To Hate a Woman," Glazov recounts the horrors suffered by women in the Islamic world. Before 9/11, feminist groups had a nascent campaign building against the subjugation policies of Muslim regimes, with a particular focus on the Taliban in Afghanistan and female genital mutilation.
Yet female genital mutilation continues. Where is the outrage?
Over the years, conservatives have thought we could change these fanatics by exposing the atrocities committed by the objects of their veneration. But, as Glazov documents, it is after the mass murder of a Mao, a Castro or a Saddam is exposed that the left cranks up the celebrity support machine.
United in Hate is a revolutionary book, in the best sense of the word. It gives a coherent explanation for a much remarked about phenomena that most commentators have merely used to score irony points. It's bound to be one of the most talked-about books of the season, and a game changer for years to come.