Two minor stars of the AgitProp firmament offer us rare glimpses into how absurd intellectual postures hold up under unrelenting and sustained blows of cognitive dissonance imposed by unforgiving Reality. The results, Dear Reader, are not pretty.
We speak, of course, of that garrulous refugee from personal hygiene and sobriety, Christopher Hitchens, known as 'Hitch' in the rugby scrum and in Sully's fulsome rhetorical embraces. He is joined today by the formerly stolid, unimaginative, and dare we say plodding Francis Fukuyama. Goofus and Gallant of the Neocon Highlights reader.
Hitch, in his inappropriate , recent and dishonest ode to Robert Conquest, betrays the incoherence of his efforts to reconcile (a) his own decades-long juvenile and ignorant embrace of Trotskyism; (b) his current cheap machismo posturing with the NeoCon/VDH/Frontpage 'War Without End' gang; with (c) the daunting legacy of Conquest's life work. An effort doomed to fail.
Fukuyama is exposed in a deadly accurate and hilarious send up by Global Paradigms today. Witness Fukuyama hurling the facsimile of invective at his former Neocon comrades, seeking to split fine ideological hairs with his Chekist PNAC internal passport. If you, Dear Reader, have a flash back to Life of Brian and the “Peoples' Liberation From of Judea” split from “Judean Peoples' Liberation Front”, you get it in one synaptic fire.
Fukuyama seeks to be the Bukharin of the Neocons — the moderate one, believing that time will make inevitable the process of unfolding Freedom via materliasm. Modernity is what everyone wants, and democracy is its offshoot. He claims his moderation is different from the militarist revolutionary stance of the 'Leninists' Kristol, Kaplan et al. Fukuyama's proposed solution? Blend Wilsonian idealism with pragmatism.
The late Robert Osgood (and former SAIS Dean) in 1954 wrote that America's inablity to reconcile its ideals with self interest was becoming a life or death matter. He proposed - blending Wilsonian idealism with pragmatism. Literally half a century ago. And without all of Fukuyama's half-baked Marxist material determinism and (despite his efforts to deny it) his Leninist and PNAC doings.
Shorter Fukuyama — Osgood said it better, first and with deeper insight.
And now Hitch.
Hitchens' attempt to embrace Conquest is inapt for all sorts of reasons. Essentially, Hitchens the flea seeks to lie down with Conquest and pick up a dog. As a Trotskyite and romantic Leftist, Hitchens opposed the stand of the liberal democratic West against Soviet subversion, faux Marxist Leninist movements such as the Sandanistas (Tomas Borge trained by the KGB, etc.), etc. Robert Conquests' life work was devoted to exposing the lies, horror, destruction and murder in the name of abstract ideological utopianism. In short, Hitch's career up until the Bush Administration.
Make no mistake. Hitch's claim that Conquest was opposed to Stalinism (but not Trotskyism) is the same old tired canard that Isaac Deutscher down to Stephen Cohen tried to do — rehabilitate the Soviet Left Experiment by distinguishing Stalinism from Leninism and Trotskyism.
But the Soviet archives make clear in original documents that Hitch's game is a false one. Lenin himself created the Cheka and the Red Terror --we have in his personal handwriting the instructions for mass murder (indiscriminate) and more death, deliberately choosing to use mass murder and terror as a governing tool. Similarly, Trotsky was soaked in blood from the 1917-1923 period — both from the Red Army and his personal directives for mass executions to his support for the Cheka operations. In fact, proposed under his rubric of 'Primitive Socialist Accumulation' before his fall in 1923 was essentially the contours of the First Five Year Plan. Hitch et al. like to say, fine all well and good, but it was that yellow-eyed Georgian who was the murderer. But not so.
He may have been extreme, but the documents are clear: Lenin and Trotsky built and set the machinery in motion. And no one who knows the documents and history honestly believes that Trotsky would have refrained from mass coercion and violence to get his 'socialist accumulation'.
Conquest knew this. Conquest was on the side of liberal democratic tolerance with all its flaws against abstract revolutionary ardor turned into Totalitarian ruin. Hitch was and is on the side of abstract romantic violence and force in the name of Permanent Revolution. Just the nouns have changed for him.
Hitch's double game is all the more transparent by this opening:
In his section on “The Structure of the Fascist State” [a Bulgarian from the 1980s] adumbrated the whole “Fascist” totalitarian phenomenon, covering in chapter after chapter the importance of indoctrinating “the masses”, the need to keep out foreign influences, the role of farcical elections and a powerless “parliament”, the necessity of fanaticism, the view that Western “academic freedom” was false. Above all there was the single party and that party’s control of the state, of mass organization, of all opinion, of literature and the arts, of the police, of the courts.And yet, how far different is this frankly unexceptional diagnosis of generic fascism from the very political edifice Hitch embraces now for us in the West? While he makes the intellectual beast with two backs in gropings with his friends at Frontpage et al. How far apart is Hitch's rigorous defense and calls for solidarity with intellectual, spiritual and moral submission to Authority in the name of Endless War?
Hitch's attempt to hijack Conquest is loathesome, disreputable and ultimately transparently ludicrous. But one expects that cheap parlour trick from him. Other than Sullivan, one wonders who really will embrace his tawdry charade outside the Neocon/VDH/Frontpage gang. And even they should insist on Hitch discovering minimal hygiene.