Dezember 16, 2011

Hitchens ist tot

"Karl Marx was possibly the consummate anti-statist in his original writings and believed that the state was not the solution to social problems, but the outcome of them, the forcible resolution in favor of one ruling group. He thought that if you could give a name to utopia, it was the withering away of the state. Certainly those words had a big effect on me.
The reason why people tend to forget them, or the left has a tendency to forget them in practice, has something to do with the realm of necessity. If you make your priority -- let’s call it the 1930s -- the end of massive unemployment, which was then defined as one of the leading problems, there seemed no way to do it except by a program of public works. And, indeed, the fascist governments in Europe drew exactly the same conclusion at exactly the same time as Roosevelt did, and as, actually, the British Tories did not. But not because the Tories had a better idea of what to do about it. They actually favored unemployment as a means of disciplining the labor market.
You see what I mean: Right away, one’s in an argument, and there’s really nothing to do with utopia at all. And then temporary expedients become dogma very quickly -- especially if they seem to work.
Then there’s the question of whether or not people can be made by government to behave better. They can certainly be made to behave worse; fascism is the proof of that, and so is Stalinism. But a big experience, and this gets us a bit nearer the core of it, a very big influence on a number of people my age was the American civil rights movement, and the moral grandeur of that and also the astonishing speed and exclusiveness of its success. A lot of that did involve asking the government to condition people’s behavior, at least in the sense of saying there are certain kinds of private behavior that are now not lawful. And there seemed to be every moral justification for this, and I’m not sure I wouldn’t still say that there was.
But it’s become too easily extended as an analogy and as a metaphor -- and too unthinkingly applied. In my memory, the demand of the student radical was for the university to stop behaving as if it was my parent, in loco parentis. They pretend they’re your family, which is exactly what we’ve come here to get away from. We don’t want the dean telling us what we can smoke or who we can sleep with or what we can wear, or anything of this sort. That was a very important part of the ’60s.
Now you go to campus and student activists are continuously demanding more supervision, of themselves and of others, in order to assure proper behavior and in order to ensure that nobody gets upset. I think that’s the measure of what I mean."
(aus einem Interview von Reason mit Christopher Hitchens aus dem Jahr 2001; via. Ein ausführlicher Nachruf in der New York Times: )

1 Kommentar:

nestor hat gesagt…

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