Hoover Institution Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow Daniel Pipes issues a warning with a new piece at National Review Online called "The Left's New Enemy: 'Empire.'"
There is nothing new, however, about Empire. Pipes refers to (but doesn't actually discuss) the book from 2000 by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri by the name of Empire--always capitalized with no definite article, something Pipes finds bothersome.
Empire, for those who didn't follow, was one of the rare books by academics that achieves rock star status for its ability to take on questions of globalization from a theoretical perspective that took priorities of the left seriously. For months on end (perhaps years) following its publication, it was discussed by every major publication for the point of celebration and for its controversy (it was too theory-laden, or jargon-ridden, etc.)
But even with all the extra time, for all the mischaracterizations by Pipes, it is clear that he did not read it. Nonetheless, he did feel comfortable making quite serious (and erroneous) charges against both the book and the surrounding discourse.
This, for example, appears nowhere:
The United States, of course, is the Great Satan, accused of hoarding disproportionate resources. Its military oppresses the poor so its corporations can exploit them. Its government promotes the pretend danger of terrorism to aggress abroad and repress at home.
And Israel is the Little Satan, serving as Empire’s sinister ally — or maybe the Jewish state is really the master? From World Social Forum meetings in Brazil to the United Nations anti-racism conference in Durban and from mainline churches to NGOs, Zionism is represented as absolute evil. Why Israel? Beyond not-so-subtle anti-Semitism, it alone of Western countries lives under a barrage of constant threats, which in turn compel it to engage in constant wars. “Stripped of all context,” Sternberg notes, “Israel’s actions fit the needed image of aggressor.”
The conclusion? Empire is a threat to humanity.
So much for those fashionable theories of two decades ago, trumpeted as the Berlin Wall fell, about the end of ideology. The Left retrenched after the fall of Leninism and now threatens humanity with a new version of its anti-Western, anti-rational, anti-liberty, anti-individualist ideology.