A few posts ago I highlighted an interesting article from the National Post by Jeet Heer detailing the captivating journey from Trotskyism of some of the neo-conservatives.
Now, I imagined that a few modern-day ‘third camp’ Trots, such as these people in London might feel slightly embarassed by the linkage between the followers of Old Leon and their enemy George Bush but it never entered my head that a raving right-winger would be furious about the suggestion.
But Arnold Beichman is absolutely livid in this National Review article where he totally misses the point and blasts: “Now there is little new in conspiracy theories about American politics and politicians. And it’s easy to shout “McCarthyism” at the York University academic as he describes pro-war intellectuals, like the historian Paul Berman as having “a Trotsky-tinged past” but there is something more sinister at work here: to rob the Coalition, which destroyed a terrorist haven and an inhuman dictatorship, of the moral victory it represents.
So if ex-Trots agree with you, it robs you of your moral victory? Sounds a familiar line of argument and as Stephen Schwarz, an ex-Trot turned military interventionist himself, points out in a well-argued reply to Beichman: Stalinists loved to describe Trotskyists as “sinister,” and here Beichman does not disappoint. The real intent of Jeet Heer, according to him, was “something… sinister…: to rob the Coalition, which destroyed a terrorist haven and an inhuman dictatorship, of the moral victory it represents.” This, presumably, was to be effected by associating Donald Rumsfeld with Trotsky at Kronstadt.
Well, I consider Beichman’s intent more sinister: to exclude (Christopher) Hitchens and myself from consideration as reliable allies in the struggle against Islamist extremism, because we have yet to apologize for something I, for one, will never consider worthy of apology.”
Schwarz’s article is well-worth a read in full if you are interested in this whole thing of ex-Trot neo-cons (and I am fascinated by it) but on another level isn’t it odd and slightly amusing to read, in one of America’s leading conservative journals, people brandishing accusations of Kronstadt guilt and Stalinism around like student union lefties?
Strange times, strange times.