Still Wondering Why Hitchens Left Socialism

“You can’t lie to the young. You must not bullshit the young. It’s an absolute principle. These people were asking me questions, ‘Seriously what should I do with my life? Should I commit to socialism or not?’ I reviewed it. Is there now an international working class movement linked at the point of production, internationalist that could replace capitalism as was once thought possible. No. There isn’t. Is it in long term decline that idea? Yes. Is it coming back? I don’t think so. Is there an ideology at least, without anchorage in a material class movement, that could at least say it was a critique of capitalism that could transcend it? Not known to me, no. And one’s I’ve seen on offer, not very persuasive. At that point it seemed meaningless to go on calling myself a socialist.” -C. Hitchens

It’s interesting he stopped being a Socialist, although he doesn’t say much about it, and if something made him decide that doesn’t work. He pussy-footed about it, saying it’s not politically viable to join a Socialist movement now, rather than saying he changed his mind and doesn’t work. (And of course he asserted that Marxism still made valid observations, which is why he used to call himself a Marxist even if he wasn’t a socialist-whatever that means.)

Sadly he’s dead, so his political meandering has come to an end – how interesting that he has continually tracked right after starting to the left in the sixties, becoming allied with the Neoconservatives on several issues like the invasion of Iraq. When I age, I’ll be a conservative too, as my mind calcifies, I become resistant to change and cut off and immune to new information. No matter how liberal you are in your youth, usually the world becomes more progressive and catches up, and if you aren’t competing to stay more liberal than the rest, you will wind up as part of another new conservative hegemony if you die of old age while feeling “future shock”.





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