Tuesday, November 09, 2004
bush as trotsky
christopher hitchens isn't a rigorous intellectual. he's disingenuous, idealistic, and -- like any true trotsky admirer -- given to propaganda. so everything he says is to be discounted in that light. but, as with any decent propaganda, there are shadows of truth in it.
mr. hitchens is right to note that the west and its armies do represent secularism on some level. it is wrong to say, however, that george w. bush is a secularist -- quite the opposite, in fact, being a open christian cultist. hitchens dismisses bush's messianic mysticism as irrelevant because "our Constitution forbids" him from "impos(ing) his principles on me". good luck with that, mr. hitchens -- it forbids more than a few things the executive does.
moreover, it is another question entirely to assume, as mr. hitchens implies, that western absurdist secularism is a good thing (for them or us), or that it should be or will be welcomed by anyone beyond a diminishingly small minority in iraq, afghanistan or anywhere else our armies roam. and that, to address the next point, is obviously not to embrace islamist fundamentalism prima facie.
for mr. hitchens also equivocates the recognition of popular insurgency against indirect american misrule in the third world with apologism for violent islamist militancy -- a blatant smear of any meaningful analysis of a complex reality. mr. hitchens would do better to try to understand how tens of millions of peaceful and peace-loving muslims -- and even secular arabs -- can both despise terrorism and yet, without inconsistency, sympathize in some way with al-qaeda.
to admit the reality and consistency of such complexity is to realize the evil of an american Global Democratic Revolution -- it is to acknowledge the inherent imperial character of the endeavor, the totalitarian ideological aims of establishing "democracy" at gunpoint, and the violent coercion of peoples to adopt an alien culture against their traditions, their beliefs and their will.
under such a realization, it is not enough to say 'it's better than saddam' -- because it clearly is not any good, nor can it proffer any meaningful enduring benefit to either us or them. indeed, possibly quite the opposite is true.
mr. hitchens, as many neoconservative bandwagoners do, characterizes the muslim world as being on the brink of schism -- in a "civil war", in their revolutionary lexicon. to some extent, that can be true, i think; certainly, there is profound opposition within islam to the wahhabist interpretation of virtue. islam is a complex, deep and broad ocean of philosophy with many variants; to the extent that these variants conflict, there can be disagreement and, with intolerance, schism.
what he and they do not seem to realize, however, is that neither side in that schism is a friend of western ideological secularism, absurd individualist decadence or cultural usurpation of muslim identity. no matter who "wins" in such an event (if anyone), from the muslim perspective as i understand it, the west is best kept at arm's length -- and, failing that, opposed.
i'm far from the first or the most energetic to criticize mr. hitchens for what he is -- which is so much less than perhaps he could be. for what he is is a half-baked ideologue in the service of jacobinism, the cult of murderous totalitarian revolution, providing grist for the mill of an emerging american national socialism.
as such, is it very surprising that he trims bush to fit upon a pedestal -- one he fashioned for trotsky -- as a secular warrior for platonic truth and goodness?
but it does pay the bills, doesn't it, mr. hitchens?