Thursday, December 15, 2016

Iconoclast …

… Interview: Peter Hitchens | (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Despite a seemingly bottomless store of invective for the political establishment, Hitchens tells me his political activism died in 2010. “I have no further interest in directive politics,” he declares solemnly. “I write the obituary of the country.” I laugh at this. “I’m not joking!” he insists. Is he a pessimist? I ask flippantly. “Of course I am”, he gives a well rehearsed line: “any intelligent person is a pessimist. It’s what keeps them so cheerful.” Part of his dislike of government seems explained by the shoddy caliber of politicians working today: ephemeral detritus passing through a world becoming ever more vulgar and ever more trivial. “Denis Healey was Beach-master at Anzio, for goodness sake, and had seen people die at his left hand and his right hand… Now you get children, emerging from university like baby koalas, going straight into jobs where they actually attain power. It’s shocking.”


  1. Yet until the 20th Century, the statesman was not generally a soldier. Nobody thought worse of Lord Mornington for serving in government rather than the army; and if memory serves, his brother may have been not just the first prime minister with military experience, but the last until Churchill. In the US, military experience has had a pretty weak correlation with ability for government, or so it seems to me.

  2. Well, Washington and Eisenhower were pretty good. William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor didn't live long enough to do anything. Theodore Roosevelt. ]t is thought of highly. A new book claims that Grant was better than his reputation. Though I agree that there's no necessary correlation between military experience and skill in government.