September 26, 2005

Tom Piatak on Christopher Hitchens

The October 10th edition of The American Conservative, which should be on newsstands about now (subscribe here), is a good one with two pieces by me and Tom Piatak's demolition of Christopher Hitchens's career. An excerpt from Piatak's article:

So where does this lover of Trotsky and hater of God, this despiser of religion and tradition and devotee of “permanent revolution,” this anti-Catholic bigot and reviler of Reagan and John Paul, now find an ideological home? Among the neoconservatives, naturally. As Hitchens told Johann Hari in the same interview where he said “I don’t regret anything,” he admires Paul Wolfowitz, whom he described as a “real bleeding heart.” According to Hari, Hitchens sees neoconservatism as a “distinctively new strain of thought, preached by ex-leftists, who believed in using US power to spread democracy.” Hari also wrote that Hitchens believes that if neoconservatism “can become dominant within the Republican Party, it can turn US power into a revolutionary force.” Barry Didcock came to a similar conclusion in the June 5, 2005 Sunday Herald after interviewing Hitchens: “The way Hitchens tells it, he began to realize, as the 1990s wore on, that US force could and should be used to fight what he saw as the forces of fascism.” Hitchens still wants world revolution; the only difference is that now he sees us Americans as perfectly placed to do the fighting and the dying needed to achieve his Trotskyist dream.

As both the Hari and Didcock interviews make clear, Hitchens was able to overcome his past squeamishness about American military force, not because America is threatened, but because the threat now comes from men who believe in Allah rather than Marx. Didcock notes, “the origins of [Hitchens’s] position lie in his long-held distaste for religion,” and Hitchens told Hari, “The United States was attacked by theocratic fascists who represent all the most reactionary elements on earth. ... However bad the American Empire has been, it is not as bad as this.” Hitchens also wrote—in the same column in which he extolled the priest-killing potency of the French and Russian Revolutions—that “George Bush may subjectively be a Christian, but he—and the US armed forces—have objectively done more for secularism than the whole of the American agnostic community combined and doubled.” [Although, in reality, we seemed to have replaced the secularist dictator of Iraq with the Grand Ayatollah's brother-in-law.] Hitchens’ entire politics is motivated by his hatred of religion and tradition; he’d be just as happy bombing St. Peter’s as the Taliban.

... The irony, of course, is that Hitchens has hardly cast his lot with the “Let A Hundred Flowers Bloom” school of conservatism. The neocons prattle on endlessly about “moral clarity” and display a fondness for ideological purges but have never been anything but indulgent toward Hitchens. They have not criticized his Bolshevism or his hatred of religion....

What the mutual embrace of Hitchens and the neocons tells us is that Hitchens’ assessment of neoconservatism is essentially correct: the regnant force in American conservatism today is warmed-over Trotskysim, which views America merely as the embodiment of the ideology of global revolution. This is, admittedly, a depressing conclusion. But there is hope. Hitchens spent the first half of his ideological career riding a dying horse. He may just have started riding another one.

To read the rest (and there's lots more good stuff), buy the magazine.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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