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The Case For Tony

November 27, 2010

It comes from that tortured and talented polymath but is nonetheless arresting: a defense of Tony Blair by Christopher Hitchens in the October Atlantic.

Hitchens endorses Blair’s liberal or humanitarian interventionism first manifest in – and I’d forgotten it – the commitment of troops to Sierra Leone where mercenaries were running a blood diamond racket with enslaved child soldiers. There and in Kosovo he committed troops. In Sierra Leone he may have stopped another Rwanda. He acted as no other British Labour leader – think, says Hitchens of Harold Wilson and Rhodesia.

If the Hitch gives him credit for courage he’s bemused by the utterance that Blair says he resigned when, “My constituency in the media had evaporated.” I see this as an entirely understandable sentiment. But I share Hitchen’s disdain for Blair’s view that Princess Diana was the embodiment of New Labour.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      November 29, 2010 9:14 am

      Yep, looks like it. I always distrust an ex-Trotskyist (mad by definition – just consider what they believed ) but Hitchens is always an elegant read .

      • Michael permalink
        November 29, 2010 4:32 pm

        Then why, Bob, are so many intelligent people Trots, or ex Trots? Hitch, Irving Kristol, James Burnham, Leon himself, etc. Are they all fruit-loops with Mensa level IQs?

  1. Bob Carr permalink
    November 30, 2010 7:09 am

    It’s this: I have to distrust the judgement of anybody who once believed in a Leninist one-party dictatorship, indeed worshiped that old tyrant Lenin, believed that the world proletariat was going to rise in revolution, subscribed to Marxist gibberish in general and loved the bloodthirsty murderous bastard Leon Trotsky.

    If they believed in the above I think their judgement on other things may be flawed.

    Read Martin Amis’ ruminations on Hitchens’ revolutionary romanticism in his book on Stalin, Koba the Dread.

    Bob Carr (who knew as a 15 year old the Marxist world view did not match reality).

  2. Michael permalink
    November 30, 2010 9:57 am

    That’s an unfair conflation of Stalinism and Trotskyism. The former is a practical political program that destroyed millions of lives and whose primary contribution to the world is the Gulag. The latter is an intellectual construct that destroyed (or enhanced?) nothing but the reputations of a handful of intellectuals, and whose primary contribution to the world is discredited political literature. Supporters of Stalin supported thoughtless murder; supporters of Trotsky supported thoughtless ideas. That’s a subtle difference that surely slaps you in the face when confronted with it.

    I trust you will vigorously adhere to your logic and argue against the ex-Trotskyist Paul Howes’ eventual Labor pre-selection on the grounds that he cannot be trusted.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      November 30, 2010 2:37 pm

      No, it’s not unfair to conflate Stalinism and Trotskyism. I conflate. I indict. Both Trotsky and Stalin were dedicated Leninists. Trotsky believed in a single party dictatorship with a powerful Cheka (secret police). Trotsky supported Lenin’s brutal and ruthless ideas which, we now know laid the basis for Stalin’s gulag. Trotsky was ruthless in putting down the Kronstadt strike, and even if we accept his claim that he had no direct involvement in the suppression of the strike at face value, in the same article (‘More on the Suppression of Kronstadt’ (1938) 4 The New International 8 at 249-250) he tried to wash everyone’s hands of guilt by saying that ‘excesses flow from the very nature of revolution.’ Is regarding brutality and suppression as a necessary and vital part of a political ideology really any better than directly ordering the murders in a specific episode?

      For God’s sake, read Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, and read Robert Conquests’s The Great Terror, and read Montefiore on Stalin.

      A Soviet state lead by Trotsky would have been murderous.

  3. November 30, 2010 11:05 pm

    Leninists, Stalinists or Trotskyites and others of their ilk are all cut from the same authoritarian cloth. Nothing to choose between them. All enemies of the people and enemies of freedom.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      December 1, 2010 7:58 am

      Spot on, Kate. We’ve had a 90 year field experiment in Marxism in power. And nowhere has a regime emerged that has reconciled freedom with Marxist social reconstruction. Nowhere. Marx’s vision does not allow that. In every case one-party dictatorship, political prisoners, slave labor, concentration camps.

      The evidence is in. The case closed.

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