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The nature of the opposition

Katha Pollitt’s Letter to an Ex-Contrarian (from the Nation) is very much worth reading. Context: Christopher Hitchens is a leftist — former socialist, in fact — who’s been pondering the nature and necessity of our war on terrorism of late. He left The Nation because he wasn’t comfortable there any more. A complex guy.

The first paragraph of Pollitt’s letter is mean-spirited; a man ought to be able to call himself a contrarian without being required to spend his life absorbing brickbats and stones. If he wants to quit writing for The Nation, he should go ahead and do it.

The rest of the letter is a nice recovery. It’s not just directed at Hitchens, of course; it’s directed at every right-wing pundit who claims that the anti-war protestors don’t count because the protests were organized by Communists. It’s 2002 and McCarthy is alive and well in America. Communist organizers taint the protests, but Bush’s views on privacy don’t taint his actions? Odd standards indeed. Pollitt skewers them.

(Link by way of Electrolite.)

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