How did Hitchens escape his Leftist dogmatic slumber? How did he throw off the warm blanket of the cult of Marxism? You might think it was 9/11 that finally shook him awake. You'd be wrong. Here he says that it was friendship that did the trick:
The realization that we were in a cultural and political war with Islamic theocracy came to me with force and certainty not on 11 September 2001 but on 14 February 1989, when the Ayatollah Khomeini offered money in his own name to suborn the murder of my friend Salman Rushdie.Aristotle argues that Friendship is a necessary component of the good life. For Hitchens (as for Horowitz) it was critical. Only Hitchens' personal attachment to this one man enabled him to see through the Leftist cloud in his mind. Simple human friendship did what no amount of vigorous debate could.
I have grown to love Aristotle (I was a Plato man as a youth) and I crave Chartreuse. Now I have added Hitchens to my list. Here is another interview with him at Frontpage wherein you will find this gem:
The last time that I wrote anything that was couched in specifically "Left" terms was my book on Clinton, where I tried to persuade people that he was a reactionary as well as a thug and a coward and a crook. I rather lost that battle (though not that argument!) and Move.On.org was born originally as a group formed to defend a President's right to perjury.But, you really should read the whole thing to get his take on Michael Moore, Mother Teresa, Chomsky and Abu Ghraib.
Reflecting on where the rot set it, I have come to the temporary conclusion that much of the "Left" was forced by events to adopt a status-quo position. Thus, it neither really opposed nor welcomed (with some exceptions in both cases) the historic anti-Communist revolution of 1989. It sat on its hands during the Balkan conflict. It could find no voice in which to discuss the urgent challenge of holy war. When it came to Iraq, you could even hear leftists saying that an intervention might "destabilize" the region: a suggestive choice of term from supposed radicals, suddenly sounding like Kissinger Associates.
Much the same has become true on other fronts, with people essentially saying, on things like Social Security; just leave it the way it is. Even the environmental movement seems to resent modernity and be nostalgic for agrarianism. I'm perhaps over-speculating here, but another trope of "anti-Americanism" could be one that resents the United States as the country par excellence of disturbing change and innovation and, via regime-change, of revolution. The Right often makes a version of this mistake, as with stem-cell research and Buchanan-type isolationism and nativism. But the Left is really doomed if all it wants is a quiet life.