Death of a Communist crime denier

The political and academic historical world of the British Isles seems to have been plunged into mourning at the death of Professor Eric Hobsbawm CH (Companion of Honour), author of many hefty tomes and a life-long Marxist and Communist. People who would rightly excoriate any Holocaust denier weep copious tears over a man who has spent decades denying the crimes of Communism, supporting the most horrible totalitarian system in history, skating over such matters as collectivization, the show trials and the forcible take-over of Eastern Europe after the war and writing history that is pure Marxism. Well, not me, if I may use such an ungrammatical expression. Here is my take on the man.

9 thoughts on “Death of a Communist crime denier”

  1. Thanks for the link Helen.
    A long and depressing history. Last week, we discussed the arguments for the open marketplace of ideas, but a student argued much will never come out. And, sadly, he has a point. How else could Hobsbawm be honored?

  2. Arthur Koestler, himself a former Communist, wrote about the nature of intellectually-closed systems:

    “A closed sysem has three peculiarities. Firstly, it claims to represent a truth of universal validity, capable of explaining all phenomena, and to have a cure for all that ails man. In the second place, it is a system which cannot be refuted by evidence, because all potentially damaging data are automatically processed and reinterpreted to make them fit the expected pattern. The processing is done by sophisticated methods of causistry, centered on axioms of great emotive power, and indifferent to the rules of common logic; it is a kind of Wonderland croquet, played with mobile hoops. In the third place, it is a system which invalidates criticism by shifting the argument to the subjective motivation of the critic, and deducing his motivation from the axioms of the system itself. The orthodox Freudian school in its early stages approximated a closed system; if you argued that for such and such reasons you doubted the existence of the so-called castration complex, the Freudian’s prompt answer was that your argument betrayed an unconscious resistance indicating that you ourself have a castration complex; you were caught in a vicious circle. Similarly, if you argued with a Stalinist that to make a pact with Hitler was not a nice thing to do he would explain that your bourgeois class-consciousness made you unable to understand the dialectics of history…In short, the closed system excludes the possibility of objective argument by two related proceedings: (a) facts are deprived of their value as evidence by scholastic processing; (b) objections are invalidated by shifting the argument to the personal motive behind the objection. This procedure is legitimate according to the closed system’s rules of the game which, however absurd they seem to the outsider, have a great coherence and inner consistency.

    The atmosphere inside the closed system is highly charged; it is an emoional hothouse…The trained, “closed-minded” theologian, psychoanalyst, or Marxist can at any time make mincemeat of his “open-minded” adversary and thus prove the superiority of his system to the world and to himself. ”

    (From Woe to the Shepherds in Bricks to Babel)

  3. We should remember that the New York Times and the Washington Post referred to Stalin as ‘Uncle Joe’; they idolized Chairman Mao and defended Pot Pol. For some reason the academic community admires these newspapers because these papers praised the 3 men who murdered more men and women than all other tyrants in history combined.

    Progressives today, including Obama, still carry the banners (stained red with the blood of over 70 million victims) that Stalin, Mao and Pot Pol waved – reviving the war between the classes in hopes that still more blood can be shed. For them, joy is galloping shoulder to shoulder with the Four Horsemen. If you doubt this statement, consider how many American troops Obama has sent to pointless deaths in many different countries.

  4. Strangely, I feel a bit liberated. It is as if I was so used to a weight that I had forgotten I bore it was suddenly lifted from me. May God temper his justice with mercy.

  5. Eric Hobsbawm, in an interview for the progressive webzine In These Times, marveled 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 obviously developed a defensive 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 did he seem to blot out the end of the Cold War, when his side lost.

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