A listener has chid me for calling Bernie Sanders, quote, "an accomplice to mass murder." While he declares himself no Sanders supporter, my listener argues that the Senator is merely a democratic socialist in the Scandinavian style, not a supporter of communist despotism.
A key phrase here is one from the French Revolution: pas d'ennemis à gauche, which translates as: "no enemies to the left."
The sentiment here is one voiced by moderate leftists: like the National Assembly in the early days of the French Revolution, or Alexander Kerensky in Russia between the fall of the Tsar and the rise of Lenin. They always clung to the illusion that the factions further to their left could be appeased, or ignored, or perhaps co-opted in the moderate cause.
Kerensky fled to the U.S.A. and lived here until he died in 1970. British historian Paul Johnson actually met him in later years. Johnson asked Kerensky why he hadn't ordered Lenin and his Bolsheviks to be rounded up and shot when he had the power to do so. Replied Kerensky, quote: "I didn't think they were important."
That's the spirit of the moderate left. Listen, I'm an old Cold War baby. I lived through the whole thing, interacting with hundreds of European and American socialists, democratic and otherwise, all through those decades. Let me tell you: You could never get any of them to say, unprompted, anything negative about the U.S.S.R.
Democratic socialists like Orwell, who identified as left but spoke frankly about what a horror show communism had turned out to be, were exceedingly rare. Pas d'ennemis à gauche.
Come to think of it, pas d'ennemis à gauche could also be a working slogan of the respectable right in the U.S.A. today, what Peter Brimelow calls "Conservatism, Inc." Luminaries of this faction, people like Bill Kristol, David Brooks, or John Podhoretz, will cheerfully quote or retweet leftist pundits like Jonathan Chait but would never, ever let it be known that they read VDARE.com or Steve Sailer. Pas d'ennemis à gauche. No enemies to their left, no friends to their right.