Monday, November 28, 2005

Just Fucking Awesome

This is the most excellent takedown of Christopher Hitchens I've seen yet, because it is so comprehensive.

It's not too long; it's dense yet somehow light and in a few places witty. Great stuff. Heavily footnoted. I wanted to do something like it for a long time but could never pull it off.

Two suggestions for Lenin I humbly offer. Check out Hitchens's political epitaph of Conor Cruise O'Brien in .. Unacknowledged Legislation, I think. He might as well have been writing of his future self. Also, while I will never say that Hitchens was insuffienciently hermetic in his Leftism (I'm not about to do the Norman Podhoretz trick of saying that he was rat from the start), or that's it's somehow axiomatically evil or evidence of shoddy character when one shifts ideological allegiance, I do agree that Hitchens always had a certain, significant soft spot. The fucker always played games with the dialectic to argue that America-Britain was always on the right ("left") side, the revolutionary side of history, and anyone in A-B's path was "reactionary". Here's an example that, when I found it, made me retch:

But those who view the history of North America as a narrative of genocide and slavery are, it seems to me, hopelessly stuck on this reactionary position. They can think of the Western expansion of the United States only in terms of plague blankets, bootleg booze and dead buffalo, never in terms of the medicine chest, the wheel and the railway.

One need not be an automatic positivist about this. But it does happen to be the way that history is made, and to complain about it is as empty as complaint about climatic, geological or tectonic shift.


Pathetic. Pathological. A bald defense of genocide, almost perfectly mirroring that of Glenn Reynolds. Blaming the victims or, at best, consigning blame to a "natural" phenomenon.

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