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The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed

A review of Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens by Richard Seymour.

Robert Wargas


March 3, 2013 - 7:00 am
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“He was, in an idiom he would have understood, a petty bourgeois individualist who esteemed collectivism at least some of the time but never submitted to it himself. He resented the rich and powerful but enjoyed their company.” As I read these words, which appear in the prologue of a new book by Richard Seymour, I made an incomplete mental list of people to whom they could apply: George Bernard Shaw seems to fit quite nicely, as does J.K. Galbraith. Moving along the spectrum from alleged intellectuals to proven fools, one could add Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, and Edward Asner. It becomes clear rather quickly that the only ones susceptible to this charge are those who base their politics on a distinction between the individual and the collective—a dubious premise in itself, and thus one that is bound to lead to stark differences between theory and practice.

The target of the charge, therefore, is usually those on the Left, who are to varying degrees comfortable with the distinction, and who face the ire of both foes on the right as well as their more puritanical comrades. The accused this time around is Christopher Hitchens (Peace Be Upon Him), a man whom Seymour regards as the quintessential “apostate leftist.” Titled Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens, this book (excuse me: “extended political essay”) is published by Verso, ironically the same radical press that put out many of Hitchens’s own books, including The Trial of Henry Kissinger, from which Seymour draws his subtitle. The tradition of Verso is to perform surgery without anesthesia, to get the job done in a hundred pages or less, and to use a shotgun instead of a scalpel. The aim is always nothing less than the pure destruction of one’s opponent: to burn him and scatter his ashes and then send wilted flowers to the mourners.

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We are all now psychologists interpreting personality, developmental history and outcome traits of people we neither know nor have ever seen in the flesh - statistics doncha know. based on the stories they tell.

It seems "appropriate" then to diagnose the psychology - perhaps better psycho-social - pathology of people like Richard Seymour and his fellows who call tlhemselves "liberals". Now outed as "progressives". in the service of government engineers with the wherewithal to put their programs into effect, e.g. in Great Britain James Callaghann with his "winter of discontent and in the USA All the Kennedys, both the Clintons and now of course the fina ising stamp in the hands of their BH Obama.

Their style in discourse that of ravening psychopath with delusions of grandeur over people i.e. the poor and disadvantaged professedly championed but used primarily as tools/instruments for their New pyramidal constructions.

With aims for absolutef life and death powers over people as Pharoahs, kings, emperors (with or without new clothes) and Tsars.

Using contrived famine starvation of masses IN CASE of resistance to their "Dreams", show trials and summary execution, under guise of lawful behaviour, of public oppoinents, Lyubienko and gulag to enforce continued obedience.

"Re-training" of the population with extensive rewards for any who "bring glory" to their designs in, being no fools, complete obedience to their powers.

Their spokespersons in their public "information" and entertainment media bang their drums and blow theri trumpet. How could they possible lose?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The book sounds like an excellent teaching tool, a textbook illustration of circular reasoning and bad faith.
I like this line in the review best, "You needn’t consider reality since reality is specifically the thing against which you’re arguing." Sums up the ideological psychosis of the Left very well.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This book sounds like the sort of non-fiction with which I have no patience whatsoever. When the English language, in its simpler form, is inadequate to express the elegance of your thoughts (typically because you're doing something like excusing mass murder) it usually helps to concoct some silly jargon or impressive turn of phrase, which makes you sound intelligent and sophisticated. Those lower classes who don't comprehend your brilliant rhetoric are hopefully intimidated by how complex your thought processes are (conservatives evil; liberals sort of evil; communist dictators good!) and so will be restrained from questioning your brilliant opinions, so that the mass murderers can continue their good work...or something. It's the sort of thing that would get laughed out of any intelligent conversation, but gets you tenure at many universities and even apparently gets your books published. Hopefully few people buy this drivel; he's probably gotten enough attention as it is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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