The Dude writes, may sign

May 1, 2006

Christopher Hitchens, invaluable as always, on, among other things, The Euston Manifesto.

I especially liked this:

It prefers those who vote in Iraq and Afghanistan to those who put bombs in mosques and schools and hospitals. It does not conceive of arguments that make excuses for suicide murderers. It affirms the right of democratic nations and open societies to defend themselves, both from theocratic states abroad and from theocratic gangsters at home.

I have been flattered by an invitation to sign it, and I probably will, but if I agree it will be the most conservative document that I have ever initialled. Even the obvious has now become revolutionary. So call me a neo-conservative if you must: anything is preferable to the rotten unprincipled alliance between the former fans of the one-party state and the hysterical zealots of the one-god one.

He knows he has to do it.

(Via Harry’s Place.)



  1. jesus christ, more strawmen than you can shake a broom at …

  2. So call me a neo-conservative if you must…

    OK, I must.
    He’s a neo-conservative. Nothing to be ashamed of, but there’s no sense in pretending to be some kind of left winger when obviously he’s nothing of the kind.

  3. Jason, please identify and elucidate said strawmen (what are they again — strawmen?)

    And Liam, there is a pro-war left, you know. I expect there’s an anti-war right, as well (maybe I’m part of that; don’t think I could claim to be part of the other). Life’s complicated, ain’t it?

  4. Yes, Rob, life’s complicated. Thanks for that. As you rightly point out frequently though, there are objective right and wrong despite the complications.
    I’m with John Holbo’s invitation to the Eustonians back to the Left:

    But really maybe the best option is to extend a friendly invitation to these decent folks, who really are on the same side with us: just admit you were wrong and adjust accordingly. The fact that your manifesto attempts to skirt around arguments for and against the war shows that you are genuinely, intellectually, uncomfortable with what you have thought in the past. Come clean. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Some lefties will gloat mildly for a few days. But mostly they’ll just be glad to have you back.

  5. No, Comrade Liam, you have it the wrong way round. It is for the left to reform itself, so that ‘decent folks’ can feel themselves to be part of it without feeling a sense of revulsion and repugnance. I realise it’s not all of the left that merits those responses, but it’s far, far too much of it. And currently — and for the decade past — that includes its most prominent and vocal spokespeople.

  6. You are!
    No, you are!
    No, you are!
    I love this game. I’ll never get sick of it.

  7. Well, you definitely are, Liam. And so am I, no doubt. But what? Ah, these existential questions are difficult.

  8. OK Rob, Here’s one
    As I recall you’ve expressed skepticism about the Iraq war yourself. So do you prefer ‘those who put bombs in mosques and schools and hospitals’?

  9. I haven’t expressed skepticism. I was against the war from day one.It was a hideously misguided and misinformed adventure.

    But of course I don’t prefer the terrorist side of the conflict. The insurgency has to be defeated, or at least contained, if only to provide the COW with a figleaf behind which to withdraw.

    What happens afterwards is anyone’s guess. As I’ve said — and there’s nothing original or novel in this — I think Iraq will split along sectarian and ethnic lines.

  10. That’s not really answering Jason’s question. You don’t support the war that established the FUBAR clusterfuck that is the occupied ex-state of Iraq. Cool, neither did I, nor did a lot of people. Now on what reasonable basis do you make your attacks on your terrorist-sympathising Lefties?

    But of course

    I’ll raise you your obvious, Rob, with a self-evident of mine. Anybody got an a-priori to beat either of our hands?

  11. To then unequivocally answer Jason’s question:

    “So do you prefer ‘those who put bombs in mosques and schools and hospitals’?”

    No, I don’t. I unequivocally support those who seek to prevent them, whatever the motives for putting them there in the first place.

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