The Left After Communism

David Horowitz was one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s and an editor of its largest magazine, Ramparts. He is the author, with Peter Collier, of three best selling dynastic biographies: The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (1976); The Kennedys: An American Dream (1984); and The Fords: An American Epic (1987). Looking back in anger at their days in the New Left, he and Collier wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their second thoughts about the 60s that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. Horowitz examined this subject more closely in Radical Son (1996), a memoir tracing his odyssey from “red-diaper baby” to conservative activist that George Gilder described as “the first great autobiography of his generation.” His latest book is Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left (Regnery Publishing).

Twitter: @horowitz39
Facebook: David Horowitz


The Stalinist historian Eric Hobsbawm has been the subject of a lot of fatuous eulogies since his death a few weeks ago. Ron Radosh asks whether an intellectual – a man of ideas — who dedicated his whole life to the defense of the most murderous regime on human record, and to lying in defense of that regime – can be a good historian. The question, if put right, is self-answering. Yet even worthy conservatives like Niall Ferguson apparently get it wrong. Hobsbawm may have been a brilliant writer and an intelligent man. Yet he was morally defective, and that particular flaw is fatal to a historian since in the end the reader must trust his judgments and depend on his integrity and respect for the truth. Here is a review I wrote more than a decade ago of Hobsbawm’s “history” of the 20th century, which is little more than a Stalinist political tract, written after the fact when an honest man would know better. 

THE LEFT AFTER COMMUNISM

Have compassion, my child; love those who have it, but fly from the pious believers. Nothing is more dangerous than their company, their humble pride. They must either dominate or destroy…

Rousseau

Workers of the world…forgive me

Graffiti on a Karl Marx statue
Moscow, August 1991

The monuments have fallen now and the faces are changed. In the graveyards the martyrs have been rehabilitated and everywhere the names have been restored. The Soviet Union, once hailed by progressives everywhere as a sixth of mankind on the road to the future, no longer exists. Leningrad is St. Petersburg again. The radical project to change the world is stalled, having left behind a world in ruin. In a revolutionary eyeblink, a bloody lifetime has passed into history; only vacancies memorialize a catastrophe whose human sum can never be reckoned.

In the climactic hours of the Communist fall, someone — Boris Yeltsin perhaps — remarked that it was a pity Marxists had not triumphed in a smaller country because “we would not have had to kill so many people to demonstrate that utopia does not work.” What more is there to say? If Communism’s final hour had truly spelled the end of the utopian fantasies that have blighted the modern era, nothing at all. If mankind were really capable of closing the book on this long, sorry episode of human folly and evil, then its painful memory could finally be laid to rest. Only historians would need to trouble their thoughts with its destructive illusions and appalling achievements. But, in fact, these millennial dreams of a brave new world are with us still, and it is increasingly obvious that the most crucial lessons of this history have not been learned. This applies most of all to those whose complicity in its calamities were most profound — the progressive intelligentsia of the democratic West.

Emblematic of this failure was the appearance in 1995 of Eric Hobsbawm’s The Age of Extremes, a history of the epoch from the outbreak of the First World War to the end of the Communist empire, a period which Hobsbawm refers to as the “short twentieth century.”  The Age of Extremes is actually the conclusion to a tetralogy that one American reviewer called a “summa historiae of the modern age,”[1] and which others have showered with similar accolades since the first volume appeared decades ago. This final installment was awarded Canada’s most coveted literary prize and appeared to reviews which canonized its author’s perspective as definitive for the age. A major assessment in the New York Times by Harvard professor Stanley Hoffmann, for example, hailed Hobsbawm’s achievement as “magisterial.”[2] This adjective was lifted from the jacket blurb by a Rockefeller Foundation executive who wrote: “Hobsbawm’s magisterial treatment of the short twentieth century, will be the definitive fin-de-siecle work.” Liberal foreign policy analyst Walter Russell Mead echoed this praise, calling the Hobsbawm’s work “a magnificent achievement of a very rare and remarkable kind.”[3] The economist Robert Heilbroner concurred: “I know of no other account that sheds as much light on what is now behind us, and thereby casts so much illumination on our possible futures.” The historian Eugene Genovese, reviewing it for The New Republic was equally  impressed:

We shall soon be flooded with books that seek to explain this blood-drenched century, but I doubt that we shall get a more penetrating and politically valuable one than Eric Hobsbawm’s The Age of Extremes.[4]

These encomiums reveal how embedded in the liberal culture the illusions of the socialist paradigm remain, even after the catastrophes they have produced. Eric Hobsbawm was a member of the British Communist Party for most of his life, and is an unrepentant (if inevitably chastened) Marxist still — a passionate reviler of democratic capitalism, a believer in thrall to the socialist myth. Indeed, for all Hobsbawm’s attention in his work to the details of industrial, scientific and cultural developments, his treatise is little more than an ideological tract whose gravamen is the continuing viability of the socialist faith. Even if “progressives” were wrong, they were right. The practical disasters of socialism should not be taken as a refutation of the socialist idea and its utopian premise. The tragedies produced by socialist revolutionaries are not reasons to abandon the quest for “social justice,” by which Hobsbawm means a society based on equality of outcomes and a social plan. In his own words: “The failure of Soviet socialism does not reflect on the possibility of other kinds of socialism.”[5]

Extravagantly praised by progressive intellectuals for its historical wisdom, The Age of Extremes  is little more than a 600-page apologia for the discredited Left, an advocate’s brief for the very project that produced the world of misery under review. Nor is Hobsbawm’s defense of the socialist idea against the evidence of its bloodstained reality at all original. It repeats, in fact, an argument first developed by Leon Trotsky in the years of his exile, after his fall from grace. It was Trotsky’s view that Marxism failed because it had been inserted into a hostile environment. It was the cultural and economic backwardness of Russian society that thwarted the best laid plans of the socialist dreamers and produced the distorted result. Following Trotsky’s argument (but without acknowledging its source) Hobsbawm treats the Soviet revolution as a forced experiment under unfavorable conditions and thus no test of the ideas that lay behind it and guided its unhappy results.

In his review of Hobsbawm’s book, Stanley Hoffmann repeats this faulty reasoning: “Marx was right….socialism could only work in developed countries…” But, of course, Marx was wrong. If not, why did socialism fail in East Germany, which had been the industrial heart of the German Reich until Marxists took charge and ruined its economic base? Neither Hoffmann nor Hobsbawm even attempt to explain this. Their easy presumption that “Marx was right” about developed countries is illuminating, since no developed country has ever instituted a Marxist “solution.”

During the final years of the Soviet empire, prominent economists like John Kenneth Galbraith and Paul Samuelson touted the “success” of Marxist economies and their “convergence” with those of the West. Now that the dismal failure of socialist economics has been revealed, these intellectuals want to forget that they ever suggested it was competitive in the first place. According to Hobsbawn, the idea that the Soviet system in its backward setting was a competitor to the industrial West was a weapon in the hands of its enemies and only seemed plausible because of capitalism’s weakness during the era of the First World War and the Great Depression. Ever protective of his radical constituency, Hobsbawm fails to mention the role that Party intellectuals like himself played in fostering this destructive illusion.

During the Cold War that followed, an era Hobsbawm calls the “Golden Age,” capitalist economies defied Marxist predictions about increasing misery and social crisis for reasons he is unable to explain. During this era, the industrial democracies of the West were able to permanently surpass the weaker Soviet system, which could not overcome its underdevelopment. Characteristically, it never occurs to Hobsbawm that Marxism itself might be responsible for this failure.

Like other radicals, Hobsbawm writes as though the real world failures of socialist theory have no implications for the socialist critique of capitalism itself. This assumption is the basis for the survival of the socialist faith. It underlies the really destructive contribution of Hobsbawm’s work and the left-wing culture his work reflects. As with other intellectuals of the post-Communist left, Hobsbawm’s agenda is to suspend disbelief in the socialist future while preserving and extending the indictment of liberal society that the socialist premise makes possible. In other words his their agenda is to continue the very assault with which Hobsbawm began his political career and which led to the epic tragedies that followed.

Nothing is more indicative of the ideological passion that inspires Hobsbawm’s opus, than the way in which it approaches the Marxist decline. The twenty-year period from 1973 to 1991 — that is, from the Cold War detente to the Soviet collapse — is described in a section called “The Landslide,” as though the collapse was caused by a force of nature. Even more revealingly, “Landslide” is a term Hobsbawm intends to apply to both sides in the Cold War and both social systems, as though it reflected a global collapse. The twenty years covered in this section of Hobsbawm’s text witnessed the destruction of the largest and most oppressive empire in recorded history and the spread of democratic government and market economics around the globe. But through Hobsbawm’s Marxist lens the historic victory of freedom appears as a general social disintegration affecting both sides of the ideological divide. The final section of the The Age of Extremes opens with the following judgment: “The history of the twenty years after 1973 is that of a world which lost its bearings and slid into instability and crisis.”[6]

The triumph of western freedom offers Hobsbawm — in his own life one of its privileged beneficiaries — little comfort or relief. It is a response wholly typical of “progressive” intellectuals in the West. In the vacuum created by the great global collapse, the socialist historian sees only “a renaissance of barbarism” — in his own zone of democratic freedom, as well as the post-Communist East. This idea that socialism’s collapse must mean a resurgence of barbarism is an ideological reflex, exposing the illusions of the past. It was at the end of World War I, that the German Marxist, Rosa Luxemburg, summoned the European Left to risk everything in its battles to overthrow the social order of the democratic West, because the choice, as she put it in a famous slogan, was “socialism or barbarism.”

The apocalyptic alternative is endemic to the revolutionary equation. It precludes piecemeal adjustments or reforms. The apocalyptic choice justifies in advance the crimes that revolutionaries intend to commit (because, of course, History requires them to do so). Eric Hobsbawm is still a prisoner of his reactionary faith. Capitalism remains, in his perversely unshaken ideological perspective, a doomed system, unable to solve its fundamental “crises” except by a revolutionary act of will.

In Hobsbawm’s ideological treatise, capitalism functions throughout the narrative as a force of evil, the diablo ex machina of all its tragic turns. In this Manichaean vision, it is democratic America, not its totalitarian adversary that appears responsible for the fifty years’ Cold War. Even the conclusion of the conflict — the Soviet collapse and the Red Army’s withdrawal from Eastern Europe — must be seen by the progressive ideologue as no victory for the capitalist West (“We need not take this crusaders’ version of the 1980s seriously,”[7] he writes, dismissing the idea) but as a triumph made possible by the totalitarian enemy himself.

Thus, along with other leftists, Hobsbawm attributes the end of the Cold War to the wise policies of the last dicator in the Kremlin, who “recognized the sinister absurdity of the nuclear arms race” and approached his antagonists in the West with a proposal to end it: “That is why the world owes so enormous a debt to Mikhail Gorbachev, who not only took this initiative but succeeded, single-handed, in convincing the US government and others in the West that he meant what he said.”[8] Gorbachev was able to achieve this near miraculous resolution of the Cold War conflict, according to Hobsbawm, only because the White House — normally a center of war-mongering paranoia — was occupied by a simpleton who somehow remained immune from its malign influences:

However, let us not underestimate the contribution of President Reagan whose simple-minded idealism broke through the unusually dense screen of ideologists, fanatics, careerists, desperadoes and professional warriors around him to let himself be convinced.[9]

The Cold War is now over and this kind of intellectual rant, although still prevalent in “progressive” circles,  is no longer consequential for America’s survival. But left-wing paranoia continues to unleash dangerous toxins into the political air., pouring .

In describing the Cold War’s denouement, Hobsbawm also fails to notice how the forces underlying the Soviet collapse and the western triumph reflected an economic reality of momentous consequence. This was the capacity of a society based on private markets to unleash the power of new technologies and transform the world. (And the inability of its state-managed rival to accommodate, let alone innovate in the new technological age). In a 400-page volume that devotes whole chapters to developments in science and industry in the pre-electronic era, Hobsbawm mentions the digital computer in only a single isolated sentence. There is not one reference to Ed Cray, Bill Gates, Jim Clark, Michael Milken or the other Rockefellers of the new industrial revolution or — except negatively — to its economic and social implications. Hobsbawm ignores, even denies, the liberating potential of the information age, as he does the Reagan boom — the greatest peacetime expansion in history — which helped to launch it. Instead, his portrait of America’s economy in the prosperous Eighties is one of unrelieved foreboding and gloom. Like a modern day Luddite, who has learned nothing from two hundred years of industrial innovation, Hobsbawm receives the news of technological progress as a social threat. In Hobsbawm’s doom-ridden scenario, technological progress means only the prospect that jobs will be eliminated — forever:

The Crisis Decades [1973 to the present] began to shed labor at a spectacular rate, even in plainly expanding industries….The number of workers diminished, relatively, absolutely and, in any case, rapidly. The rising unemployment of these decades was not merely cyclical but structural. The jobs lost in bad times would not come back when times improved: they would never come back.[10]

As Hobsbawm, the Marxist reactionary, returns to the myths of his radical youth, he imagines the capitalist past conjured in those myths to be recurring eternally in its present: “In the 1980s and early 1990s the capitalist world found itself once again staggering under the burdens of the inter-war years, which the Golden Age appeared to have removed: mass unemployment, severe cyclical slumps, the ever-more spectacular confrontation of homeless beggars and luxurious plenty,…” To this structural dislocation Hobsbawm attributes a “growing culture of hate” and a general social breakdown (including an alleged epidemic of “mass murders”) which cloud the American future.[11] In other words, Marx’s predictions were right.

But only in the fantasy life of an unreconstructed member of the faith. During the decades of the Cold War, the engines of capitalist progress, in fact, revolutionized the lives of ordinary working people on a scale previously inconceivable. Hobsbawm’s “landslide” in the West coincided with economic developments that ushered in the greatest social transformation in human history — the first time in five thousand years that more than a tiny percentage of the population of any society attained some degree of material well-being. It was this dazzling prospect of American progress in the era that stretched from Eisenhower to Reagan that lay at the heart of the demoralization and collapse of socialism’s empire, whose own populations had been condemned to permanent poverty by Marx’s crackpot ideas. Over the course of these allegedly somber decades, the consumption of goods and services by the average American family actually doubled. Less than 10 percent of Americans went to college in 1950, but by 1996 the figure was almost 60 percent. By that time, the poorest fifth of the population consumed more than the middle fifth had in 1955.[12] None of this uplifting reality — a liberation of the dispossessed that no socialist ever accomplished  — is allowed to enter Hobsbawm’s negative landscape.

The Age of Extremes, which has been so greedily embraced by the intellectual culture, is really an elaborate defense of the two destructive arguments in whose name the political left has caused so much suffering in the 20th Century — the alleged evil of capitalist society and the illusory promise of the socialist future. Of course, in the wake of the Soviet disaster, the hope of this socialist future is now only tenuously put forward by sophisticated radicals like Hobsbawm. It is the negative assault on capitalism that preoccupies them.

But the two arguments cannot really be separated, since the nihilistic rejection of the present order is predicated on the dream of a redemptive solution. In the closing passage of Hobsbawm’s text the two ideas find themselves linked in a manner that is as intellectually extreme as any manifesto by Rosa Luxemburg or Karl Marx:

The forces generated by the techno-scientific economy are now great enough to destroy the human environment, that is to say, the material foundations of human life….We have reached a point of historic crisis….If humanity is to have a recognizable future, it cannot be by prolonging the past or the present. If we try to build the third millennium on that basis we shall fail. And the price of failure, that is to say the alternative to a changed society is darkness.

Capitalist darkness or socialist light. Like the Bourbons of the 19th Century, the 20th Century reactionaries of the Left have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Socialism is still the name of their desire.

Notes:

[1]    Joseph F. Keppler, Seattle Times, April 16,1995

[2]   The New York Times, February 19, 1955

[3]    The Los Angeles Times, February 26, 1955

[4]   Eugene D. Genovese, “The Squandered Century, The New Republic, April 17, 1995

[5]   Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes, Pantheon, NY 1965, p.498

[6]   Hobsbawm, op. cit., p.403

[7]   Hobsbawm, op. cit., p.249

[8]   Ibid.

[9]   Hobsbawm, op. cit., p. 250

[10]   Hobsbawm, op. cit., p. 413

[11]    Hobsbawm, op. cit., p. 416

[12]   Fareed Zakaria, “Paris Is Burning,” (a review of Benjamin Barber’s Jihad vs. McWorld, in The New Prepublic, January 22, 1996.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.  

  • Chezwick

    HOBSBAWM: "However, let us not underestimate the contribution of President Reagan whose simple-minded idealism broke through the unusually dense screen of ideologists, fanatics, careerists, desperadoes and professional warriors around him to let himself be convinced."

    How ironic that the Marxist historian gave Reagan more credit for ending the Cold War than the "great conservative thinker", William F Buckley. Appearing at a seminar in the early 2000s, Buckley gave unqualified concurrance with the consensus of his more liberal co-panelists that it was Gorbachev, not Reagan, who ended the Cold War and dismantled the Soviet Union. Such a myopic view overlooks the enormous contributions of US foreign and defense policy in the 80s, where the arms build-up and the material support given to anti-Soviet insurgencies around the world bankrupted the Soviet economy and compelled the Soviet leadership into profound policy changes. And it also overlooks Reagan's ideological contribution to the revolutions in Eastern Europe during the late 80s.

  • Steve Chavez

    "WHEN THE WALL FELL, WE CHEERED, THEY CRIED. WHEN THE TWIN'S FELL, WE CRIED, THEY CHEERED." "They" are our Communists who were the most bitter when their beloved Soviet Union fell.

    "They" now WANT REVENGE and are now creating the condition$$$ for the DOWNFALL OF THE UNITED STATES!

    "THEY" ARE BARACK OBAMA AND HIS "CIRCLE OF COMMUNISTS!"

    If Obama is reelected, he, and his “Circle of Communists,” will fulfill the mission and he will be a HERO to the world. “The Man Who Brought Down the Evil Empire.”

    QUESTION: Did Reagan really win the Cold War when an 80's Soviet KGB DUPE and apologist is now President of the United States who then appointed his 80's "CIRCLE OF COMMUNISTS" in the State Department, DOJ, CIA and FBI, Homeland Security, CZARS, and who are his closet advisers?

  • Schlomotion

    Fortunately, I missed the works of Hobsbaum and also their deconstruction. It's like driving through an intersection after a car accident has been cleared away and there are only bits of orange plastic in the street.

    The Rosa Luxemburg quote "soc.ialism or barbarism" reminds me of the Pam Geller quote "Support Israel, Defeat Jihad." False dichotomy between different barbarians.

    • Omar

      Schlomotion, you just keep showing your ignorance don't you? Hobsbawn was a Stalinist propagandist. He was no hero. He was a villain. Somehow, I'm not surprised at your comment, since you happen to support tyranny.

      • Schlomotion

        I don't support tyranny, "Omar."

        • HoR_Emperor

          Yes, you do. And you also support genocide.

        • Omar

          Yes you do, Schlomotion. The fact that you keep condemning democratic countries (United States, United Kingdom, Israel and other free world countries) while praising their leftist/Islamist enemies proves that you support the totalitarian enemy.

    • tagalog

      Well, like driving through an intersection after there has been an accident involving a clown car and an armored bus carrying one of those New York subway signs saying "Civilization or Barbarity."

    • Chezwick

      "The Rosa Luxemburg quote "soc.ialism or barbarism" reminds me of the Pam Geller quote "Support Israel, Defeat Jihad." False dichotomy between different barbarians."

      Palestinians have routinely and consistently targeted Israeli women and children for murder by suicide bombers and settlement raiders. Israel, by contrast, during operation 'Cast-Lead', telephoned Palestinian civilians living in apartment buildings targeted for airstrikes and warned the residents to evacuate. No doubt, many Hamas fighters lived to fight another day in the process.

      You see Schlo, this is an actual example of the ethical contrasts between the civilized man and the savage. All YOU can offer is your well-worn hyperbole.

      • Schlomotion

        It is also an example of bovine fertilizer.

        • Chezwick

          An adolescent response to a fact you can't refute.

          • Schlomotion
          • tagalog

            I read the report. Col. Travers says there were two incidents involving what he BELIEVES was Israeli misconduct. First was the firing of artillery on a house, killing 22 people. Col. Travers didn't accept the Israeli explanation that they were firing on the house next door (containing "Palestinian" jihadists) and missed. How familiar is Col. Travers with the use of artillery? Second was the firing of a missile on a mosque that killed worshippers. The explanation of the Israelis is that they didn't fire that missile. Not accepted by Col. Travers because he doesn't know who else might have fired it.

            Therefore, it seems, the Israelis committed war crimes.

            Travers's report also says that he couldn't verify that the "Palestinians" use ambulances to transport jihadists. It's my understanding that the Israelis have captured such uses on videotape. But you can't believe those Jews, by golly.

            Travers also couldn't verify that Hamas fired missiles indiscriminately into Israel urban areas. Some investigator. He failed to verify that Hamas fighters use civilians as human shields.

            He acknowledges that Israel cooperated fully with his investigative team.

            Third claim is that squads of specially-trained Israeli infiltrators are inserted into "Palestinian" areas and commit mayhem once they're in. I believe that. In fact I hope it's true. Good for them; too bad we've failed at that in Afghanistan and Iraq. No claim of war crimes is made because of this alleged fact, though, so evidently these groups are involved in legitimate combat.

          • Chezwick

            Goldstone's repudiation of his own report's original conclusions…(read it and weep, Jew-hater)…

            "Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

            "The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy."

          • Chezwick

            More from Goldstone….

            "We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

            "The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

          • Schlomotion

            Yes. I read the Goldstone report and I know he recanted. His three partners didn't though.

          • HoR_Emperor

            Whatever. You will cling to your seething Jew-hatred until the end of your morally diseased life.

          • dionissismitropoulos

            Schlomotion 97p
            "Yes. I read the Goldstone report and I know he recanted. His three partners didn't though".

            So the issue here is that you believe that Israel has as a matter of policy engaged in targeting civilians, and you feel corroborated by the fact that the the three partners of Goldstone have not retracted their claims.

            But you still have not answered the very plausible counter-argument to your belief that another commentator has already posed to you: how is it possible to consider that the Israeli Army has a policy of targeting civilians, since Israel took the extreme precaution to make telephone calls and throw flyers from airplanes in order to warn Palestinian civilians to vacate their houses so as to be safe from imminent Israeli attacks? Isn't that a proof that Israel does not want to harm civilians?
            If it is, as i think, then the three persons that have not retracted their accusations as Goldstone did must be biased. And it will not be the first time that a United Nations body has shown extreme bias against Israel.

          • dionissismitropoulos

            Schlomotion 97p
            "Yes. I read the Goldstone report and I know he recanted. His three partners didn't though".

            I did some research on the credibility of those three members of the fact-finding mission of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC,for short).

            Two of the three, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers, were demonstrably biased against Israel. There is also a clear indication that the third one, Hina Jilani was biased too.

            I am quoting from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Fact_Finding_Mission_on_the_Gaza_Conflict#Mission_members)
            “In January 2009, before her appointment to the [fact-finding] mission, Christine Chinkin co-signed a letter published in the Sunday Times describing Israel's military offensive in Gaza as "an act of aggression””.

            Seems like she had made up her mind, BEFORE she was appointed to the fact-finding mission that Israel was aggressive, and not in self defense.

            If you want more info on Christine you can go here http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x

            Desmond Travers seemed to have made up his mind BEFORE the investigation was completed that “there have been instances of the shooting of children in front of their parents”. (http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=1733).

            He also implied that some sort of conditioning is imposed on Israeli soldiers (apparently as a policy of the Israeli Army) that makes them shoot children.

            Hina Jilani, the third member of the mission, has been quoted as saying in 2005 that Israel is depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights using security as an excuse. http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2005/10/un-

            Not exactly unbiased towards Israel, don’t you think?

            For info on all four of the members of the mission you can go here http://www.eyeontheun.org/view.asp?l=47&p=984

          • Hank Rearden

            Exactly. Well said.

        • tagalog

          But still correct.

    • Advocatus

      Right, genius, but you can't even spell Hobsbawn's name correctly. Pathetic as usual.

      But carry on about making up inane analogies about oranges, bananas and any other fruit or vegetable of your choosing to try and make us think what a clever fellow you are.

      • Horace

        Hogspawn, It's hogspawn. No edititing please.

        • Advocatus

          Yes, that's the way I pronounce it.

    • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

      "Barbaric?
      Lets see… Palis sending 40 rockets into the lives of innocent Israeli citizens this last week is OK, huh Shlomo?

      That's not barbaric, because they are hitting your fav target; JEWS.

      • Schlomotion

        I don't think you really care about it. What do you do really? You blog against it. You are an irate bumper sticker.

        • HoR_Emperor

          What a vile little cretin you are.

        • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

          Do I care about who, what? Palis that rocket Israel all day all night? Nope, I dont give a damn for them.

          I like that…"Irate bumper sticker"

          Thats good.
          Means people remember what I say ;)

          • Schlomotion

            Not really. They just remember that someone drives a car with way too many bumper stickers on it.

    • dionissismitropoulos

      Schlomotion 97p
      "The Rosa Luxemburg quote "soc.ialism or barbarism" reminds me of the Pam Geller quote "Support Israel, Defeat Jihad." False dichotomy between different barbarians".

      Do you mean that as far as the Gaza war is concerned there is no moral distinction between Israeli self defense and Hamas terrorism?

      • Schlomotion

        No. There is not. Israelis simply have the upper hand, but not enough of an upper hand to win cleanly.

        • KarshiKhanabad

          Schloim, the arithmetic is simple: six million Jews versus three hundred million screaming Arab Muslim Jew-haters. Not counting 100 million Iranian & Paki Muslim fanatics. If the Israelis kick butt & take names, fine with this "infidel".

          • Schlomotion

            All arithmetic is simple. If you want to make a big deal about how many fewer Jews there are in the world, then we have to make a greater deal of the proportionality of their atrocities. Let's remember that Israelis prefer and enjoy a 100 to 1 kill count to Palestinians. Not bad for a small and allegedly outnumbered and persecuted population.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

            Schlomotion
            " Let's remember that Israelis prefer and enjoy a 100 to 1 kill count to Palestinians".

            Israelis do not “enjoy” killing Palestinians. If they did, they would have-carpet bombed Gaza and be done with it. Instead, they chose to go and fight the terrorists face to face, so as to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties

            The 100 to 1 kill count (I take your word for it) testifies that the Israeli Army is in better shape than that of the terrorists, NOT that Israel is necessarily acting immorally. In fact, Israel’s actions are completely justified morally, since she is in self defense.

            "Not bad for a small and allegedly outnumbered and persecuted population".

            Allegedly persecuted??? Allegedly???
            The term “Holocaust” rings any bells?

        • http://www.facebook.com/dionissis.mitropoulos Dionissis Mitropoulos

          Schlomotion 98p

          "No. There is not [a moral distinction between Israeli self defense and Hamas terrorism]"

          .
          I am sure you recognize a moral distinction between self defense and terrorism in general. So I take it that you don’t recognize the particular distinction I asked you about, i.e. between Hamas terrorism and Israeli self defense, because you consider that Israel is NOT in self defense against Hamas.

          Now, if a population of around 1 million people (the population of Southern Israel that is in the range of Hamas’ mortars, rockets and missiles) had to live with a total of around ten thousand rockets and mortars falling daily upon civilian areas between the years 2005 and 2008 (the year that operation Cast Lead was launched), you can be pretty sure that any country on this planet would have reacted so as to protect its population. This is the definition of self defense. Denying that Israel was in self defense means that you are holding Israel to absurd moral standards, double standards at that (for I guess you wouldn’t object if any other country was reacting in the face of daily rocket terror attacks).

          In fact, it is quite amazing that Israel has showed so much self-restraint for so long.

          Here is the Wikipedia link for the number of rocket attacks on Israel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_rocket_a

          "Israelis simply have the upper hand, but not enough of an upper hand to win cleanly".

          Israel has enough of an upper hand to win cleanly. They are just concerned about not harming the Palestinians that Hamas uses as human shields. Instead of seeing Israelis as powerless, you should see them as setting a moral example in the history of warfare.

  • Omar

    Last spring, I took a class on European History on the 19th and 20th centuries. All of the required texts for that class were authored by Eric Hobsbawn. The class I took was totally biased in favor of communist totalitarianism. My professor was a Marxist "academic" himself. That just shows how the universities have been taken over by far-left ideologues.

    • Maxie

      See my post below.

    • library_reader

      Right, well even in the military universities there are marxist instructors teaching history. You have to wonder why they are not vetted better. You can bet that I did not anticipate finishing with an acceptable grade.

  • UCSPanther

    Hobson reminds me of David Irving, the British holocaust denier and thoroughly discredited pseudo-historian who has spent his life attempting to whitewash the crimes of the Nazis and at the same time, spitting on the memory of British troops who fought and died during WWII to stop Hitler's insanity.

    • flombre

      At least get Hobsbawms name right. Irving dared to go where no "respectable" historian would tread, he may be sympathetic to the Germans but nevertheless he has uncovered much that was previously hidden from us.

      • HoR_Emperor

        Don't try to excuse that scumbag.

  • http://tarandfeathersusa.wordpress.com/ Iratus Vulgas

    Marxist apologists sometime remind me of perennial loser and baseball-manager-in-denial Charlie Brown when he said, "How can we lose when we're so sincere?"

  • Maxie

    "The radical project to change the world is stalled, having left behind a world in ruin."
    Unfortunately it isn't stalled its just changed method following Gramsci's "capture-the-culture" strategy which proceeds apace. Most of our national infrastructure has gone far Left: Media, Education, the Courts and dozens of NGO's flooded with $$$. As a follow-up to Gramsci we now have Postmodernism which is in the midst of changing our culture by changing our language: Orwellian Newspeak is rapidly replacing the meaning of words while denying the existence of objective reality and truth. The latter has been replaced with ad ajudications ("situational ethics", " moral relativism") by which the Left can continue to change the culture. Marx declared that (paraphrased) " philosophers have described the world, the point is to change it." Marx sought violent revolution which did little but ki!! people by the millions. The change that Marx sought now proceeds by ever-accelerating subversion and, so far, it's working. Election 2012 is critical.

  • fanlad

    Great article David. With the soviet communists decline, one battle is won, but the war of Ideologies still rages on. One only has to take a look at our universities, colleges, and governments to see the socialists and communists die hard fully embedded, and still plotting to take down western Democracy, and capitalism. A case in point is the liberal socialist theory of ” Sustainability “, that is slowly finding it’s way into local and federal government regulations promoting a triple bottom line of: 1. social justice 2. healthy environments 3. strong economies. Sustainable development also embeds ideas of anti-Colonialism, Eco-feminism, and Eco-Socialism. The term “Sustainability” was coined in a 1987 U.N. report. John Byrne, Head of the Sustainability program at the University of Delaware and also a member of the inter-government climate change committee, helped launch this program at this University. Oh, by the John Kerry, and his wife T. Heinz Kerry, created “Second Nature”, education for sustainability, along with Anthony Cortese ( Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection ) they state the “best place to change how America thinks and lives is on America’s campuses”. They started out in 2007 with 12 universities and colleges, presently they are now on 677 universities and colleges.

    John Wood, National Association of Scholars, has gone to great efforts to discover what “Sustainability” is all about. Wood has discovered the bottom line of “Sustainability” , “The sustained Utopian view is that our civilization is founded on a rotten basis”. What do they view as rotten? Individual Freedom, Free Enterprise, and Capitalism. Credit to Bret Baier report on 14 October 2012.

    • mlcblog

      I, too, saw Bret Baier's report on this. It was really well done.

  • Ghostwriter

    I've never read Hobsbawn's work. After what I've read,I'm glad I haven't.

  • Horace

    Communism or progressivism as it is now styled is an in group of destructive misanthropes with symbolic boils on their brains like the infamous boils on the ass of Marx himself. These brain boils produce whitewashed foul ideas of false utopias for losers to dream about, since losers can't stand reality. The destructive nature of the filthy hogwash spouted by these psychopaths has attracted losers of many different kinds so that they might revel in the destruction of their more succesful competitors- actual workers in free countries- instead of the slaves of the communist tyrannies. They proved they were losers to everyone by the utter collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its sycophants like Hogspawn, clinging to their bloody fantasies all the way to the dump.

  • Horace

    Unfortunately communism still exists, the Soviets have just lost their leadership position. Hogspawn and his ilk in academia and liberal media are the current reservoir of that evil leftist ideology of destruction and lies that crashed all the countries it was ever tried in like heaps in a demolition derby. They have an eager audience in the ranks of those who want everything for nothing. We are paying the salaries of the communist professors self described as progressives, who corrupt as many of our youth as they can in loser mills operating openly in the American progressive universities. They continue trying to soften us up for the kill. Obama and company are a good example, befriending every enemy of freedom they can.

  • clarespark

    Here are my views on the tenuous hold by the Left on "reality." http://clarespark.com/2012/10/14/reality-and-the-…. "Reality and the Left." Soon to be followed by musings on reality and the Right, which does not agree on reality either.

  • ebonystone

    Hobsbawm's work the definitive history of the 20th c? Hardly. That title would have to go to Paul Johnson's "Modern Times", published in 1983, with a revised and extended edition published a few years later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marvin.fox.526 Marvin Fox

    Mr. Horowitz, that is a great article. I enjoyed it very much.
    I remember when the USSR finally caved in during Reagan's Presidency. There were many voices complimenting Gorbachev's judgment and humanity for its fall, while saying Ronald Reagan had little to do with the fall. The left will not fail to deflect its blame on someone else, nor refuse to compliment itself if credit can be garnered from the same failure.
    I am constantly amazed by the quality of socialist logic for socialism. They must own or regulate all of the powers in a society to make it a socialist society. The socialists must become everything they hate and preaches against to force a nation to become socialist. It requires tyrants to do the job of forming a socialist state from a non-socialists state. The down twisted historians of the world can't do it, they can only alibi the tyrants. Maybe they continue with the alibi after the failure because they can't suffer the guilt of admitting their lying alibis helped to cause such terrible harm.
    Marvin Fox

  • flombre

    Stalin was Jewish – so was Hobsbawm, what did you expect.
    The Jew controlled media hates Russia because Russia has finally kicked the Jews out. All you ever here about Russia in the Western media is putdown after putdown. The moral of the story is dont criticse the Jews or else lol.

    • mlcblog

      Why don't you take your racism and insults elsewhere?

    • HoR_Emperor

      Get lost, anti-Semite scum. Take your friend David Irving and jump off a cliff.

      • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

        He is a JEW HATER.
        "Anti semite" is vague.

    • Omar

      Stalin wasn't Jewish. Where did you get that ridiculous idea? In fact, towards the end of his life, Stalin planned to deport some Jews in the USSR to the Siberia camps. Anyway, quit repeating anti-Semitic propaganda. The reality is that radical leftists and their Islamist allies control academia in the university system.

    • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

      Hello….Moron. Joseph Stalin was a Russian/Orthodox Christian. Who was studying for the preisthood. He had a bad habit–he could not keep from robbing banks

      The "Jew controlled" media? OK….Here are all of these Jews…..Saudi Prince Alwaleed is a Jew. Rupert Murdoch is a Jew. Randolph Hearst, so obviously was a Jew.

      Rachel Maddow, Jew. Chris Matthews, Jew. Hannity, Jew. O'Reilly, Jew.

      One thing we can learn from history is that everyone is a Jew in a Jew-haters opinion…

      Koo koo, koo koo

    • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

      BTW: I dont hate Russia at all.

    • Ghostwriter

      flombre,you're an idiot. As Omar and others have pointed out to you,Stalin wasn't Jewish. He was originally from the Russian Orthodox faith before he left it and became a Communist. Towards the end of his life,he planned to deport Jews to the gulags. I also don't see anywhere where Hobsbawn was Jewish. You're probably worse than Schlomotion,and that's pretty darn bad.

    • dionissismitropoulos

      flombre
      "The Jew controlled media"

      The "New York Times" belongs to a Jewish family and is openly anti-Israel.

      "The moral of the story is dont criticse the Jews or else lol"
      .
      The "Guardian" and the BBC are openly hostile to Israel.

      Those two newspapers and the one TV channel i've just refered to, have a big worldwide audience.
      And they don't seem to be afraid of the Jews.

      If your laughing out loud all the time were directed at anti-Semitic conspiracy theorizing, it would be very apropos.

  • flombre

    Theres no "honest debate" – theres never even a discussion lol. These Jews have very selective historical memories. l make valid points and my comment is deleted. Why even someone as obviously intelligent as David himself will not address these matters, its not as though he lacks the brainpower, rather he prefers to "massage" unpleasant facts out of existence :) whilst he's busy massaging he might like to attent to my sore shoulder lol

    • HoR_Emperor

      Anti-Semitic scum-troll. Begone.

    • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

      I see your comment here.
      They let Jew haters comment here.

      What valid point?

      That Stalin (LOL) was a Jew?

      do yourself a favor, take some truth serum, it would benefit you immensely

  • https://www.facebook.com/juliosanz89 Julio Sanz

    very good

  • Charles Roberts

    Kudos, as usual, to you, David Horowitz! I salute your heart and soul in this quest to fight darkness with light.