On the Perils of Being an Intellectual Outlaw…

“Scorned and marginalised, a true intellectual outlaw would have to be a tough recluse or a real masochist to enjoy their position. Finding their values unpopular and their truths rejected they should also mourn the conditions of their societies. One should not wish to be intellectual outlaw. It should be forced upon oneself.”

Wandering Near Sawtry

I still like Christopher Hitchens. No, really, I do, and I say that despite disagreeing with almost all of his opinions: the one-size-fits-all liberal internationalism; the reckless interventionism; the dogmatic atheism and the socialist nostalgia. I say that despite disliking his rhetorical style: the sweeping divisions of the world into good and evil; the reduction of events to intellectual disputes; the aggressive urge to discredit his opponents and the moralising of what should be pragmatic concerns. Dullards of the left think that he became a conservative but while his revolutionary instincts changed allegiances from the proletariat to the Pentagon they were always bent on dragging the world into a progressive age by sheer force of will. In all its manifestations this is a destructive impulse.

Despite all that I remember him with fondness. Opening the websites of what pass as newspapers, and reading the shrill, insipid, derivative sloganeering one expects…

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