Kissinger vs Hitchens
Guess whose quote is whose? ‘The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.’ ‘What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.’
Think of all the implications of the following simple reality: citizens of a democracy cannot be expected to embrace human rights and self-governing stability if there is no law and order in society as a whole. In chaos there is only autocracy (i.e., Hobbes versus Locke); freedom and rule of law (order) are not separate facts so much as they are interdependent organic concepts. This is the single argument that might save Henry Kissinger’s—first quote—historical legacy, if indeed it is to be saved. Christopher Hitchens—second quote—didn’t understand this in its full measure when he wrote, The Trail of Henry Kissinger, that’s why at some point in his journalistic career he called Winston Churchill a ‘ham’. His views, developed from a Leftist logic in youth, didn’t serve him well as a defender of Western values in maturity, a defense which is at anytime a treacherous undertaking in itself, but which always must be put into the context which Churchill put them in: colonialism and empire are absolute evil political systems in theory but better than outright pandemonium and savagery found in civilizations such as The Aztec Empire, Mongolian India and the New World before some form of crude rule-of-law and Western culture. Democracy is certainly a most dreadful system of governance but it is the best we have when compared to its competitors.
Ideas have consequences on history: Islam, Christianity and Marxism are certainly possibilities of proving the basic truth of this proposition. What cannot be changed must be endured, and in the end, everyone dies. These are hard and fast rules of life. Here are a few more: as a constant habit of behavior, human beings must plan for the worst and hope for the best. An individual’s personal happiness cannot be based on the sacrifice of strangers. There can be no utopian answers to any of our individual or collective troubles, yet, science and reason can guide our choices and mitigate irrational / emotional impulses in human beings. These are some of the fundamental rules for people to follow for a political solution to living together and sharing the earth in peace. We all understand that when the bet’s in, the debt must be paid. Otherwise, it’s a cheat! But what if Kissinger’s main pitch—that the threat or actual use of political violence is necessary to achieve any global civil order at all (see, The Idealist)—can ultimately be shown to be wrong? What if there was a way to solve the enigma of wealth, health, peace and liberty for everyone without violence; to finally end the problem of the steppes (i.e., foreign invasions)? There might be a way people could construct modern civil order which wouldn’t dissolve into the anarchy of continual black swan economic events (at least the ones that were within human control).
Both Hitchens and Kissinger’s views of life would be mistaken if this were true. One wants to ask of Kissinger: what if the idea of realpolitik (see, World Order) is false, at least in the sense that history is not a resolute event dependant on, not principles, but on simple military power? Furthermore to ask of Hitchens: what if our equalitarian idealism of liberty and utilitarianism is completely wrong—indeed, what if they were at odds with one another when human beings congregate in huge complex organizations which include billions of us in the modern global societies?
Did Kissinger sacrifice liberty unfairly to security (and become a mass murderer as Hitchens accuses)? Would Hitchens as a young Trotskyite have mass-murdered in the name of revolutionary zeal as his hero theorized (and in fact actually did for the Bolsheviks)? Is the gulf between idealism (for this article, Hitchen’s position) and realism (Kissinger’s position) unassailable? Or perhaps all along it has been bogus? These are the concepts and questions into which we will look.
This was what I wrote in 2006 in Atheism Skepticism and Philosophy while having Conrad Black in mind—at the time he was a good friend of Henry Kissinger: the whole object lesson of life, the art of living, as it were, is significance; be assured from every ethical corner imaginable, the ostentatious display of possessions, cars, boats and other toys, or jewels, titles, clothes and other trinkets, etcetera, is never ever the point of significance in life except for the morally insolvent. Any Capitalist’s twisted traverse to get to ‘The Heart of Greedy,’ is a sad but true anti-fairytale on how not to live. Why and how proprietorship becomes ‘eat the weak’ is because Napoleonic appetites, based on a false ideology of greed, demands one becomes a Nietzschean superconductor, losing the most important tools of a modern business executive, which are the most important tools for everyone: moderation, honesty, authenticity, love, genuineness, grace, tolerance, charity, dignity, understanding, prudence, piety and in a word, human goodness.
After reading A Matter of Principle, I realized that Black went to prison not for any gross economic impropriety but for the appearance of it. So while he was innocent of any moral wrongdoing he was exceedingly blameworthy for two things: not being careful enough in picking his business partners or friends and not realizing that America is a fascist socialist autocracy with a façade of liberal democracy which he offended by having beautiful bastions with butlers and billions. And he was wrong about another thing: America is in irreversible decline.
When I was young I read with great enthusiasm Barbara Amiel’s Confessions of the Thought Police and became a fan; later to be disappointed when she married Black and stormed off to her castles in Toronto, New York, Florida, and London when there was so much work to be done by this idealistic Thatcherian journalist. Had she really said, “My extravagance knows no bounds?” and turned her back on common sense and decency—on rationalism itself? She, like her husband, certainly gave her enemies enough rope.
Christopher Hitchens was no Harriet Tubman, but of course not many can ascend those heights, to start the struggle against your oppressors while in captivity as a teenager, rescue with unimaginable courage her whole family in incremental installments, and with great forethought, fight for the lot of enslaved strangers while keeping her unwavering valor and daring until the end, even when confronting President Lincoln about emancipation. Everyone on the Left gives Hitchens “the” benefit of doubt that as a Trotskyite, if in power in 1917, that he wouldn’t have found the “plebs” as annoying as the rest of the Marxists did. To paraphrase Vladimir Lenin, “They are a nuisance who stand in the way of my agricultural plan.” (Said to Bertrand Russell in the 1920s in response to the question of why he thought it necessary to murder hundreds of thousands of Kulaks). Lenin certainly mass-murdered many an ‘average egg’ and he started almost certainly from the moment he sat to his scrambled egg breakfast in 1917. When it comes to numbers of democide, he and Stalin made Hitler and Goring look like a couple of guttersnipes.
Henry Kissinger is no Mother Theresa. In fact he was a German Jew who was lucky enough—he had relatives who planned for the worst and hoped for the best—to escape to New York City from the Nazi regime. The thing is, Hitchen’s argument from the Left is fatally flawed, and in his last years he knew it. Whatever his new heroes were—Thomas Pain and Thomas Jefferson to name two— they were Lockean Libertarians—he was moving incrementally in the right direction. I mean by that, growing and changing his positions to valid broadminded ones. However, for Kissinger’s entire adult life, we see his essence in still-life—his intrinsic personality—was centered on the absolute refusal to understand political life as in any way ever as an ongoing moral proposition. He intrinsically believed that politics existed amorally inside the power and ambition of governments that were locked in a deterministic universe of the global nation-states. This reveals as it does with Machiavelli his emotionless response to the issues of human rights and his fatalistic belief in autocratic power as the ultimate authority. He calls for instance, Bismarck and Napoleon III revolutionaries. Here history under their tutelage did not progress but regressed as I will explain below. He tries to make his nest in the Realist Tradition of political science, a bubble devoid of all human value except security.
Hitchens makes his case clearly in the Idealistic one. Why both miss the point will indeed be the conclusion of this article. (FYI: Niall Ferguson, the author of the brilliant The Ascent of Money contradicts this conclusion in his account of Kissinger, see above).
A permanent solution to the violence of the modern state—a global state of peace if you will—is rejected theoretically by both of them; Kissinger represents the irrational tired Right and Hitchens the corrupt three-centuries old Left. How exhausted and dishonest are those two political positions and how they beg to be tossed aside? We will look at that exact query.
In Diplomacy, Kissinger points out that territorial expansion was and is the historical preoccupation of American foreign policy, i.e., the Louisiana Purchase, Andrew Jackson’s purchase of Alaska, his Secretary of State dreams of expanding into Canada and Mexico and Grant’s desires in the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and so forth. His unstated premise—that this was normal, inevitable and as with all nations to be expected—is just an assumed conclusion; nothing here is scientific. That the invasion of Canada was revolutionary fervor—idealistic—and that the Mexican-American War in 1846 was in a sense a Texan revolt not accepted by Mexico but in its turn by the US Congress and was therefore in any strict sense not expansionist in the way Kissinger means it. Over and over again in Kissinger’s writing we see that he makes his case by re-interpreting the historical facts to fit into his worldview of super-hero diplomacy.
His view that no country is an exception to the global shared conflicts of nations and empires, (again the problem of the steppes and alien incursions), and that Americans suffered from the delusion of a safety created by two massive oceans, is nonsense. Other nations could share the American democratic standard and have the longest unprotected border in the world and get along famously for over two hundred years, i.e., the Canada and the US relationship: this thesis of his is laughably contestable on so many fronts. America’s influence in Canada, the Caribbean and Central and South America was always on the low, often done without official sanction by privateers and even criminals such as Walker. A good case can be made that the furthest America ever steered from this course of action was under Kissinger’s own direction, and here, the irony, if true, would be breathtaking.
Kissinger is singularly responsible for the original suggestion of the overthrow of the democratically-elected leader, Chile’s Allende, who himself was not much of a democrat, but was a freely elected leader of a Western democracy. Kissinger dropped this plan before the actual CIA supported coup d’état which occurred in September 1973; however, he is probably (indirectly but personally) responsible for the murder of Chile’s General Schneider.
An unelected official in the United States is meeting with others, without the knowledge or authorization of Congress, to plan the kidnapping of a constitution-minded senior officer in a democratic country with which the United States is not at war, and with which it maintains cordial diplomatic relations. The minutes of the meetings may have an official look to them but what we are reviewing is a "hit"-a bit of state-supported terrorism. (From, The Trail of Henry Kissinger). This reference here is from a recorded secret meeting October 15 1970 where Kissinger instructed CIA covert operations to kidnap the general who was killed in the attempt; of course, a murder committed during a kidnapping is legally the equivalent to assassination.
Kissinger’s thrust in Diplomacy and The New World Order is that ‘A Standard Rule to Live By’ is not valid for nations of the world. While hypothetically ‘a standard rule to live by’ has been applied internally to the citizens of all democratic nations by rule of law for more than three hundred years now, it is believed that it could never be realistically applied to the world as a whole (in fairness, neither Kissinger and Hitchens ever consider this a better resolution so lost were they in Left and Right solutions). Without a (super empire) nation-state acting as the international power broker and arbitrator, a worldwide body itself, such as for instance a better-defined United Nations and other world-wide organizations could never do the heavy lifting that democratic national governments do against private human-rights violators (i.e., criminals) to protect their own citizens’ liberty and freedom inside their borders. (Winston Churchill held this view as well.)
For the approximate century of European peace from 1814 to 1913, (with the exception of the Crimean War and other smaller disputes), Kissinger gives credit to Metternich as achieving at the Congress of Vienna. (This extended peace, by coincidence, mirrored a period of economic stability based on the gold-silver standard). “Both [Bismarck and Napoleon III] were practitioners of realpolitik, that blend of cold realism and power-oriented statecraft that tended to be, to use Kissinger’s description of Bismarck, ‘unencumbered by moral scruples.’ They believed, as Kissinger had once written of his nineteenth-century subjects, that ‘foreign policy had to be based not on sentiment but on an assessment of strength’.” (Kissinger, Isaacson).
No, like Hitler and Lenin, they were immoral political hacks who rejected The Age of Enlightenment, reason and peaceful resolution to human conflict.
The apocalyptic violence of the twentieth century with literally two unnecessary world wars and hundreds of millions of political murders from the Leftist totalitarian systems and their autocratic anti-communistic reactionary national opposites supported by the West reveals the utter futility of this Machiavellian view. Something more important than lack of political compromise caused this catastrophic result; indeed, economic, ideological and anti-enlightenment sentiments, (by which is included, Platonism, anti-market-mentalities, anti-West attitudes and hatred of reason), are almost solely the forces which are responsible.
The Vietnam War catapulted Kissinger to world-wide fame as a global diplomat with Richard Nixon’s support—one power chaser enabling another. In Kissinger’s advice to and manipulation of an insecure and paranoid president, he became Faustian, secretive and deceitful to Nixon, America and the whole world: “One reason for keeping decisions to small groups is that when bureaucracies are so unwieldy and when their internal morale becomes a serious problem, an unpopular decision may be fought by brutal means, such as leaks to the press or to Congressional committees. Thus the only way secrecy can be kept is to exclude from the making of the decision all those who are theoretically charged with carrying it out” . . . (quoted from HK in Isaacson).
With his disdain for inefficient plodding democratic processes, Kissinger enabled an exceedingly dangerous man who had his finger on the trigger of the thermal-nuclear apparatus to be emboldened. He fawned over Nixon like he was a King, even pandering, (Nixon’s own word for him) and certainly he was a facilitator of the worst traits in this apprehensive man. The war which Nixon should have terminated the instant he was inaugurated became the constantly bleeding debacle that would lead to Watergate and his final downfall. Kissinger was the salmonella fowl in the stew that Nixon cooked up to serve the hungry Silent Majority, and of course ultimately, it poisoned the whole nation against the idea of the sacrosanct trustworthy US Republic. I predict America will never recover from this blunder.
Kissinger encouraged the invasion of Cambodia which led to the Killing Fields. The Left often blames America for this and mitigates the responsibility of the Khmer Rouge, who it is claimed were drawn into the North Vietnamese maelstrom and over-reacted to the vortex. This is utter nonsense. Nixon and Kissinger were guilty of the bloodbath as surely as the British Conservatives under Neville Chamberlain were responsible for WWII and the Holocaust. But let’s not be too literal. The communists were the planters in the blood-red pastures of Cambodia as surely as the Nazis were the designers of the gas dungeons throughout Europe. The appeasers are rightfully shamed in history as should be Nixon and Kissinger; they had no confidence in democracy, the general electorate or human rights, but the slayings were committed by ideological murderers, the very worst kind, zealots trying to make a better, purer world.
When Pakistan invaded Bangladesh with American-made tanks in 1971 and slaughtered tens of thousands of its own citizens and started a war with India, the primary concern for Kissinger was to keep his Pakistani back-channel to China open. His ultimate goal was to create a triangular relationship with America, China and the Soviet Union. In doing so, he allowed the needless massacre of defenseless East Pakistani (Bangladesh) citizens by the Ali Bhutto and the Pakistan People’s Party government without an official American word of protest. This point, and others like it in Kissinger’s character, is, ‘Did the one action justify the other?”
In the end, Nixon went to China and then to Russia. Détente started and he achieved this intended vaulted triangulation, which eventually, and for a time, has assisted in allowing America to develop as the singular super power status in the world by playing one communist regime against another.
Would Leftist critics, so mired in utilitarian ethics, justify these ‘means and ends’? If it was for a Leftist cause, I believe they would. Let’s look at some additional examples.
Other writers, (see for instance, The Price of Power, Hersh) like Hitchens, accuse that even in Vietnam, Kissinger unnecessarily sacrificed the lives of American soldiers solely for Nixon’s political gain, before and after his first election to the US presidency.
A conclusion might be drawn that Kissinger constantly supported the side that was morally wrong on more occasions than can be claimed by chance or historical accident to gain power for Nixon. He sought to overthrow Prince Norodum Sihanouk in Cambodia when Nixon and Kissinger decided to open the Vietnam War up into Cambodia, thus unleashing the horror of this nation becoming destabilized and seized in the confusion by the murderous Khmer Rouge. He aligned America with Pakistan in its Bangladesh slaughter and did everything humanly possible to mitigate his and its culpability. He supplied the arms to General Suharto of Indonesia who used them immediately upon delivery in the Genocide in East Timor. There are other examples in Cyprus and Chile, but the larger point is, that in all these situations he was as big a warmonger as was Karl Marx and Adolph Hitler. Power was equivalent, even superior to justice, and he stated that it was an aphrodisiac for him personally. He sought it and was deranged in his happiness by it, by which I mean that he became addicted to power and a mismanaged power-broker, perhaps becoming as vain and amoral as his boss.
So these are the deficits, and they condemn him. What remains though is in the black, but it is still pretty significant. After all, the West, America, NATO, the EU and the fledgling democracies won the Cold War and for three to four decades, the North American boomers killed communism with fear, prayers, hugs, love, optimism, utopianism, collectivist government, better hockey & chess and a new welfare state of affairs in the West, and thus attained a certain level of global peace. Kissinger’s mostly secret diplomatic maneuvers facilitated this phenomenon.
Everything political—like democracy itself—must be judged by the alternatives and its competitors. By courting China and Russia simultaneously, Kissinger achieved at a critical time a slowing of the spread of imperialistic communism (and eventual a reversal of its reach) by pitting one interpretation of it against another. Marxism is the most insidious fairytale ideology/religion ever invented in the modern world and is responsible for so much damage of the last two centuries, so this is no small achievement. No country with a predominant Marxist creed escaped a bloodbath, even poor Nicaragua and Cuba’s democide numbers are in the tens of thousands of executions: all communist countries in, it is well over one hundred million murders. Now this is not war-time casualties, deaths by disregard or human foolishness, this is utter bare-knuckled murder by a government for philosophical reasons and a refusal by almost all Marxists in power to recognize basic human rights: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
As certainly as Maynard Keynes was no communist but an unconscionable liberal who mollified economic principles for a directionless mixed economy to pacify Leftist dissent against the market economy, neither did Kissinger have any real respect for the Marxist ideology, but only for the power it accumulated as an expression of its national interests. Moral judgment in both men was lacking, as it was for Chamberlain and Nixon. In Kissinger’s mind it was a Sparta to our Athens, nothing more or less. He may not have been a principled conservative but he surely embraced the inspiration of the West on some level, as did Keynes. Nonetheless, with his emotionless, focused view on America’s rightful place in the world, he ruthlessly set a course of action, and with his whole abandoned will, had an American administration do his bidding. For this, the world became a certain thing and not another, for good or bad. Using the foundational philosophy of Kant’s romanticism and phenomenalism (of idea and appearance), he considered himself as an Idealist which explains the title of Ferguson’s famous apologetic (see above, The Idealist).
Henry Kissinger is one of the worst people to ever be a force for good. Nicholas Thompson, The Hawk and the Dove. He manipulated colleagues and nations. He faked the beginning of a nuclear war in order to advance some perverse personal game theory. He callously perpetrated international crimes. But he was a man of ideas at the center of an American strategy that ultimately benefited the world in some grand sense. His China policy was one of America’s great Cold War achievements. He deserves to be honored and to be given a medal—but one with the image of a man who is scowling and holding a knife. Henry Kissinger was a success—a true, American success—but he can only be called an idealist if he can be called despicable too.
It will become clear, and may as well be stated at the outset, that this book is written by a political opponent of Henry Kissinger. The Trail of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens. Nonetheless, I have found myself continually amazed at how much hostile and discreditable material I have felt compelled to omit. I am concerned only with those Kissingerian offenses that might or should form the basis of a legal prosecution: for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap and torture. Thus, in my capacity as a political opponent I might have mentioned Kissinger's recruitment and betrayal of the Iraqi Kurds, who were falsely encouraged by him to take up arms against Saddam Hussein in 1974-75, and who were then abandoned to extermination on their hillsides when Saddam Hussein made a diplomatic deal with the Shah of Iran, and who were deliberately lied to as well as abandoned. The conclusions of the report by Congressman Otis Pike still make shocking reading, and reveal on Kissinger's part a callous indifference to human life and human rights. But they fall into the category of depraved realpolitik, and do not seem to have violated any known law. . . . In the same way, Kissinger’s orchestration of political and military and diplomatic cover for apartheid in South Africa and the South African destabilization of Angola, with its appalling consequences, presents us with a morally repulsive record. Again, though, one is looking at a sordid period of Cold War and imperial history, and an exercise of irresponsible power, rather than an episode of organized crime. Additionally, one must take into account the institutional nature of this policy, which might in outline have been followed under any administration, national security advisor, or secretary of state. . . . Similar reservations can be held about Kissinger's chairmanship of the Presidential Commission on Central America in the early 1980s, which was staffed by Oliver North and which whitewashed death squad activity in the isthmus. Or about the political protection provided by Kissinger, while in office, for the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran and its machinery of torture and repression. The list, it is sobering to say, could be protracted very much further. But it will not do to blame the whole exorbitant cruelty and cynicism of decades on one man.
But then, For How Much is He Personally Responsible?
Indeed, a journalist like Hitchens is likely going to be arrested, tortured and murdered by autocracies for reporting state crime if he is not spry enough not to be caught at the wrong place and wrong time. That Marxism was halted in Nicaragua by an illegal policy of the Reagan administration of supporting back-channel funds to Contra groups may have saved millions of lives, indeed even the West itself. If the sinister political philosophy Reagan was fighting had been the spread of militant Islam instead of Marxism, would Hitchens have been as adamant to prosecute Henry Kissinger for capital offences had he been a comrade of Oliver North (instead of General Haig) in the struggling against zealot Jihadians? I believe he would NOT have!
He recognized in Islam a fascist political ideology masked as a religion but did not appreciate Marxism as a fascist religion masquerading as a political ideology. As confident as I am that Kissinger was a Gollum, I am convinced that Hitchens had a blind side, a weakness for tobacco, excess liquor and Marxism. All three will kill you in time. Of course we all die, but why tobacco and liquor are on us alone, is that it is a personal choice. Why Islam and Marxism is on your well-meaning neighbor’s head (turned a monster because of their religious ideology) is the collectivist urge to crucify their enemies (to cleanse the ‘others’: the immoral bourgeoisie and the greedy selfish sensualists), and why democracy is safer—healthier to your long-run prospects—if not exactly an antidote to this urge in us all, is because democracies have even in the worst of times, a modicum of human rights protection compared to their competitors.
There is a reason why Jack sold the cow for a few magic beans and Hansel & Gretel outwitted the witch. We are utopians in our childish refrain, and why the idealist versus the realist is a false dichotomy is a fairly simple fairytale. The choices themselves are immature. As surely as ‘Hitch’ was the most Randian of American atheists, so ‘Henry’ was the craftiest of Talleyrandian diplomats. Hitchens and Kissinger both have become legend on the Right and Left and now to completely separate the reality from myth may be impossible. To be cool-headed and at the same time even-handed, we want to go beyond the local dispute: we want to offer a new standing rule to live by for the world—we crave a return to the past through the future and to enter into a new modern Age of Enlightenment, a realistic rational romanticism. Let’s throw off religion at the last, as both Kissinger and Hitchens would want, and by which we mean that a central global agency is needed for the 195 countries of the world to all play in the haunted woods by all the same rules—a sort of global treaty with free minds, markets and borders as the prime goal rather than worldwide socialism; the grey weary world of the common denominator and politically correct. What a tired and un-fascinating idea for individualism.
We can solve the problems of the steppes (and permanently protect our borders) with an alliance and economic collaboration for people which will allow for basic human rights to everyone everywhere in the world. We could move on to growth and population stabilization which would allow the earth to become a renewable resource before it is too late. For this to work, government must be small, human rights must be based on ownership of your ideas & property, and religion relegated to a strictly private domain. Most importantly, human sacrifice, rule-utilitarianism and all forms of Platonism must cease to have political sway. Religions cannot act against population control and governments cannot supply a substitute for the individual responsibilities and challenges of life: the Left and the Right must come together with reason and science to solve their differences. As sure as state-run capitalism is a huge fascist endeavor against individual choice, so socialism is an enormous waste of human creativity. The state solves its problems top-down when evolution and free markets have shown us that it is much better bottom-up; pulleys and cranes not atmospherics and utopianism. Let’s use knowledge and logic to solve this complex political philosophical problem without violence.
This truth continues to elude most intellectuals on the left as well as the right, who remain in effect ‘creationists’. The obsession with which those on the right resist Charles Darwin’s insight – that the complexity of nature does not imply a designer – matches the obsession with which those on the left resist Adam Smith’s insight – that the complexity of society does not imply a planner. Matt Ridley from The Evolution of Everything.
Look at it this way: you could be living four hundred years ago and chances are that you’d be dead by 30 years of age, three hundred years ago by 40 years, two hundred 50, 100 hundred 60 and now if you eat light and exercise daily, 80 or even 90, in fact there are tens of thousands of centenarians alive as you read this. What a great time to be alive: evolution, reason and science gave us this achievement. Shall we kill ourselves with wanton irrationalism in the belief that we are a tragic race of beings who cannot manage themselves without God or government? Right now humankind is one global civilization and there is no inevitable pessimism that we must fail as all civilizations have in the past. We can find reasonable solutions to our collective predicaments without sacrificing human beings. By embracing the romantic view that we can live together in peace with ‘a standard rule to live by’ which would be applied across the world to all nations and all people with universal basic human rights, we can create a worldwide Sweden or Canada, Switzerland, Holland, Japan, Costa Rica, and so forth. Not perfect, but a million miles away from the worst nation states in the world today, many of them former Marxist governments or ones who were preoccupied with fighting them. To all the Left I say, be skeptical of the market if you must, but you cannot embrace innovation without it; if you reject it, the world will be a sad grey affair. To the Right I declare, without embracing science and evolution, you cannot lead the world to a safer more prosperous place.
From Kissinger, Isaacson: ‘Kissinger [when he returned from the USSR circa 1970] later told a joke about Brezhnev’s trying to convince his mother that he had become the Soviet leader. To overcome her skepticism, he took her on a tour of his realm at Zavidovo with the boats and cars and grand lodge and pool and theater. She was finally convinced. “This is wonderful, Leonid Ilyich,” she said, “but what are you going to do when the Communists take over?”
Hitchens’ advice to young contrarians, “Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”
Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens and Conrad Black are in an airplane. The pilot has a heart attack and dies and they have to parachute to safety. Unfortunately there are only three parachutes. Nixon grabs one saying; I am the president of the United States, the leader of the free world and the most important man in the world. It is imperative that I survive, and jumps out. Kissinger also grabs one saying; I’m the world’s smartest man and the advisor to the president. It is crucial that I too survive, and jumps out. Black says to Hitchens, I’m a better man now. Go ahead you can have the last parachute. Hitchens replies don’t worry, there’s two left. The world’s smartest man just grabbed my knapsack.
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