Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hitchens Still on the Libertarian-Left

Many of you might know about the internet/blog tiff between Christopher Hitchens and Juan Cole, whereby Hitchens accused Cole of being an Iranian apologist -- which he's not -- and Cole retorted by vulgarly going below the belt by proposing Hitchens was drunk when he wrote the article for Slate. Much of the original skirmish has to do with Cole's accusation that Hitchens stole a private email from a newsgroup Cole belongs to.

To be honest, this isn't really all that interesting. I only bring in up because Cole accuses Hitchens of being a hired gun of the far Right, which I think is preposterous. To smear someone with that label solely on one issue -- that being the war against Islamist totalitarianism -- seems rather illiberal. I still believe Hitchens, even with a somewhat neoconservative take since 9/11, is a good leftie/Painite. I think his recent article in Slate proves the point readily. It's good reading and Hitchens takes the appropriate stand that liberal democracy predicated on individual rights should always supercede multiculturalism and the ridiculous notion of "group rights" that Islamists are claiming in Amsterdam.

Please someone tell me how this smacks of the "far right?" Are we on the left stupidly mired in another scenario of groupthink where we give totalitarians the benefit of the doubt while ostracizing those still on the left that believe we must always rely on liberal democratic norms before appeasement?