Don't you just love the elegant sneer on this "intellectual's" face? It's easy to imagine him thinking something like 'You stupid middle-class Brits and Americans are such idiots for not wanting to live in a worker's paradise like the Soviet Union was'.
Eric Hobsbawm, who at the age of 94 has been singing the praises of slavery over the drawbacks of freedom for nearly a century, has written a new book "How to Change the World: Reflections on Marx and Marxism." I have no plans to read his book. But I read an excellent review of it in the WSJ by Michael Moynihan:
In a now infamous 1994 interview with journalist Michael Ignatieff, the historian was asked if the murder of "15, 20 million people might have been justified" in establishing a Marxist paradise. "Yes," Mr. Hobsbawm replied. Asked the same question the following year, he reiterated his support for the "sacrifice of millions of lives" in pursuit of a vague egalitarianism. That such comments caused surprise is itself surprising; Mr. Hobsbawm's lifelong commitment to the Party testified to his approval of the Soviet experience, whatever its crimes. It's not that he didn't know what was going on in the dank basements of the Lubyanka and on the frozen steppes of Siberia. It's that he didn't much care.From what I can determine, Hobsbawm lived most of his life in the UK, and spent a fair amount of time in the USA. If his Marxist paradise is so delightful, why didn't he go to live in the Soviet Union, or Cuba, or Maoist China, or....?
And I'm not referring to the practice of going to one of those big prisons as a guest of the warden, like Michael Moore did in Cuba. Nor am I talking about going to live the lifestyle of a member of the nomenklatura of one of those countries. I would like to see someone like Hobsbawm (or Michael Moore, or Jane Fonda) go to live in a country like North Korea as a member of the proletariat. That way he could realize the full experience of living in a worker's paradise.
But Eric has never done that. Nor has Michael, nor Jane, nor any number of other western admirers of marxism. There are only a small handful of people who have actually gone to live in a communist country on their own volition. Eric has lived his long life in a capitalist democracy. He has never been punished for advocating overthrow of our way of life. His right to advocate slavery is guaranteed by the very freedoms he opposes. He gets to live in a country with the rule of law, rather than the arbitrary whim of dictators. His needs are rather well met by the free enterprise system he so vigoorously opposes. He doesn't have to stand in line for hours just to buy basic necessities like they did in the Soviet Union, nor does he have to eat cats like many Cubans have, nor grass like many North Koreans.
But Eric wants to impose that complete lack of freedom and poverty on other people. What a despicable old man he is.