Hitchens the American revisited (with a 2015 appendix)

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October 12, 2005 by AK

I have argued that the anti-Communist movement that eventually prevailed in Poland was (in essence or in a large part) healthily nationalistic and religiously conservative. I have also commented on Christopher Hitchens’ adoration of Leon Trotsky. Now The American Conservative has run a piece reminding us that the same Hitchens has both blasted Solidarnosc for being too Catholic, and praised Trotsky for — being Trotsky, I suppose. Sure enough, Buchanan’s AmCon is steadily pro-Catholic but one doesn’t have to have the same leanings to notice Hitchens’ persistent anti-religious (not just anti-clerical) zeal.

Tom Piatak writes:

The “Polish workers” who began the revolt that ended up toppling the Soviet Union were the workers at the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk, who during their historic strike decorated the main gate of the shipyard with precisely two pictures—one of John Paul II, one of Our Lady of Czestochowa. (Leon Trotsky was nowhere in sight.) The leader of those workers was Lech Walesa, who posed in his first photograph after the strike under a crucifix, who afterwards customarily wore an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa on his lapel, who signed the Gdansk agreement ending the strike with a souvenir pen bearing the likeness of John Paul II, and who left his Nobel Peace Prize as a votive offering at the Jasna Gora monastery where the famous icon of Our Lady is found. All of these symbolic gestures were carefully considered and show the profoundly Catholic nature of the peaceful Polish revolt that ended up discrediting Bolshevism in both its Stalinist and Trotskyist variants.

Piatak then sums up the Hitchens case, concluding that Christopher H.’s “entire politics is motivated by his hatred of religion and tradition; he’d be just as happy bombing St. Peter’s as the Taliban.”

What does this have to do with Russia? The likes of C.H. triumphed here in 1917, succeeding in short order in both destroying the nation’s elite and deracinating the flock by amputating Russia’s culture and history — creating a quasi-nation based on a moronic (accessible to morons, that is) philosophy. Russia remains a rootless nation, despite the end of Communist rule, populated, it seems, mostly by people who do not know the past and have no past, and thus have no future.

The same will happen to nations invaded by the neo-conservative America and the New Europe: their old ways will be wiped out and replaced by nothing, for the West’s elites cannot, or would not, offer much of value to the peoples undergoing enforced democratization — except platitudes about democracy and freedom. Since freedom is meaningless outside of a culture and a worldview, and democracy is as — perhaps more — often than not freedom’s adversary, the long-term outlook for various Iraqs is bleak.

The good news (good mostly by being no news at all) is that Christopher Hitchens has a brother.

Added in February 2015. No, that wasn’t good news. Peter Hitchens eventually joined the Putinist camp. And no, not all traditions are worth preserving; some roots feed on poisoned waters. Putin’s conservatism is fake, which is another way of saying, genuinely neo-late-Soviet. Only the worst is being restored of imperial Russia – oppression and expansionism rather than trial by jury and local self-government.


3 comments »

  1. J.Cassian says:

    “The good news (good mostly by being no news at all) is that Christopher Hitchens has a brother.”

    I’ve always suspected that many of Hitchens’ opinions have their source in nothing more profound than fraternal bickering.

    “The same will happen to nations invaded by the neo-conservative America and the New Europe: their old ways will be wiped out and replaced by nothing, for the West’s elites cannot, or would not, offer much of value to the peoples undergoing enforced democratization — except platitudes about democracy and freedom.”

    Really? You think the US and its allies exert Bolshevik levels of control over Iraq and Afghanistan? That’s not the impression I get. On the contrary, in Iraq I think we’re seeing cultures and traditions buried by Ba’athism re-emerging, especially among the Kurds (look at the recent language laws) and the Shi’ites. In the case of the latter, some of these re-emerging traditions are hardly making life easy for the Americans.

  2. Michael B says:

    Peter Hitchens is seemingly about to initiate his own blog.

  3. Alex(ei) says:

    J.C. — I agree that the level of US control over those two countries is nowhere near 1930 Bolshevik levels but not because the allies set this level voluntary. They clearly wanted, from the beginning of the invasion in Iraq at least, to establish full control over the country and “democratize” it by brute force. When it did not work, these old, archaic customs started to emerge from a deep sleep to the horror of the occupation force. Perhaps what Baath had buried should have stayed buried.

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