Sunday, March 18, 2012

Progressive howler of the week

Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, in this interview for progressive 'zine In These Times, marvels at the Arab Spring, thus:
The Arab Spring is encouraging. I didn’t expect to see in my lifetime a genuine, old-fashioned revolution with people going on the streets and overthrowing regimes, something like the 1848 revolution, which is actually the origin of the name Arab Spring.
He's obviously developed a mental block about communism, and its victims whom he sided against during his long career. I'm sure he saw the anti-communist revolutions of 1989-91. But just as victims of emotional trauma sometimes lose their memory of disturbing events, so too has he seemed to have blotted out the end of the Cold War, when his side lost. You may recall that Hobsbawm was the one who famously admitted that all those millions of victims of communism would have been worth the sacrifice, if communism had in fact ever come about. Niall Ferguson had this to say about him, in an article in the Telegraph years ago:
"Can humanity live without the ideals of freedom and justice", asks Hobsbawm, "or without those who devote their lives to them?" The tragedy of Communism - and it was a tragedy that cost the lives of tens of millions - was that a man of Eric Hobsbawm's intelligence could not see, and still cannot see, that Communism was the negation of both freedom and justice, for the sake of a spurious and ultimately bogus egalitarianism.