The British born writer Christopher Hitchens died of cancer last week. The outpouring of grief and praise for a man who can only be called a propagandist for barbaric ideologies may seem curious at first glance, but there is an ugly and logical explanation for the reaction.
Mr. Hitchens was for many years known as a leftist, a self-described Trotskyite. He wrote a column in The Nation magazine during that time, and was known for excoriating the likes of Henry Kissinger for the carnage he carried out in Vietnam and Southeast Asia that killed millions of people.
In more recent years Hitchens took a sharp turn in his writings and public statements and in the process became far more famous, and no doubt a lot richer. After the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, Hitchens came out of the closet and presented himself to the world as a full blown neo-con, an unconditional supporter of the Bush administration’s aggressions. So great was his love for the Bushites that he took the citizenship oath in a naturalization ceremony presided over by Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff.
Hitchens became a favorite of pundits, and with a body of prolific work and glib statements in the media, he was rarely out of the spotlight. Yet in the end all his words amounted to nothing more than fighting for the rights of white people to control everyone else in the world.
Hitchens’ descent into support for western imperialism was, as George Galloway put it, a metamorphosis “from butterfly back into slug,” but it wasn’t as sudden as it seemed. Like most criminals, Hitchens showed his true side earlier on. In 1992 he was invited to attend a protest opposing the quincentenary celebration of Columbus’ arrival in the western hemisphere. Hitchens made it clear that he was not at all put off by the genocide of Indians and enslavement of Africans. As he put it, “1492 was a very good year and deserves to be celebrated with great vim and gusto.” According to him, the coming of the European and the barbarity which ensued is just the way things happen, and in fact all for the betterment of humankind.
“But those who view the history of North America as a narrative of genocide and slavery are, it seems to me, hopelessly stuck on this reactionary position. They can think of the Western expansion of the United States only in terms of plague blankets, bootleg booze and dead buffalo, never in terms of the medicine chest, the wheel and the railway . . . But it does happen to be the way that history is made, and to complain about it is as empty as complaint about climatic, geological or tectonic shift.”
In other words, it is part of the natural order of the universe for the world and its people to be under the rule of whites, with people of color preferably under their control whenever possible.
The political ascension of George W. Bush and the beginning of the war on terror was all the opening that Hitchens, a leftist poseur, needed. Why toil away as a left winger known only within that smaller group, when more money and media attention awaited a cheer leader for pax Americana and white supremacy?
His fans may argue with the assessment, calling his unqualified support of the Iraq occupation a “mistake,” when it was no such thing. Hitchens decided to make a living, a very good one, as a professional white man. Beneath his mutterings against “Islamofascism” he was nothing more than an angry white guy who wanted brown people to be conquered or dead.
The liberals who swooned over his British accent and his media savvy may not want to admit it, but they also admired his openly imperialist and indeed racist point of view. He claimed to be sickened by Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, but what he really wanted was for the Arabs to be subservient, in no position to question or to oppose the powerful white-run nations of the west. As for tyranny, if people who looked like him were carrying it out, it wasn’t so bad after all.
The bizarre levels of admiration on display for this man are symptomatic of a much larger problem. Once again we see that the endless aggression is not really opposed by most Americans, and they prove it by lionizing the likes of the late Hitchens. They too think that powerful white people have the right to lay waste to entire regions of the world and to the human beings within them. In fact, they don’t think that non-white people are really human beings with the rights they assume for themselves.
Hitchens may have been in the minority in publicly proclaiming the rightness of mass murder but that doesn’t mean he was alone. Now that he has passed away, it is clear that his ideas were loved by many people, who also hearken back to a time when white was openly declared right, and with ample doses of “vim and gusto” too.