Hitchens huomauttaa, että Marx ja Engels vihasivat poliittista valtaa aivan yhtä paljon kuin monet liberaalitkin nykyään. Nykyinen vahvan valtiojohtoinen poliittisesti järjestetty talous eli "sosiaalidemokraattinen markkinatalous" on yhtä kaukana sosialismista kuin liberalismistakin. Pikemminkin nykyinen sosialismin nimellä kulkeva "ison valtion" kannattaminen on globalisaatiosta hämmentyneiden pintavasemmistolaisten perustelematon trendijuttu - alkuperäisestä sosialismista on ajauduttu aika kauas.
Ja missä ihmeessä ovat kaikki poliittista valtaa vastustavat anarkistit?
Hitchens: There is no longer a general socialist critique of capitalism -- certainly not the sort of critique that proposes an alternative or a replacement. There just is not and one has to face the fact, and it seems to me further that it?s very unlikely, though not impossible, that it will again be the case in the future. Though I don?t think that the contradictions, as we used to say, of the system, are by any means all resolved.
REASON: Many socialists have a radically anti-authoritarian disposition, even though the policies they would enact end up being authoritarian. What causes this divide?
Hitchens: 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.
REASON: You?ve called yourself a socialist living in a time when capitalism is more revolutionary.
Hitchens: I said this quite recently. I?m glad you noticed it. Most of the readers of The Nation seemed not to have noticed it. That was the first time I?d decided it was time I shared my hand. I forget whether I said I was an ex-socialist, or recovering Marxist, or whatever, but that would have been provisional or stylistic. The thing I?ve often tried to point out to people from the early days of the Thatcher revolution in Britain was that the political consensus had been broken, and from the right. The revolutionary, radical forces in British life were being led by the conservatives. That was something that almost nobody, with the very slight exception of myself, had foreseen.
I?d realized in 1979, the year she won, that though I was a member of the Labour Party, I wasn?t going to vote for it. I couldn?t bring myself to vote conservative. That?s purely visceral. It was nothing to do with my mind, really. I just couldn?t physically do it. I?ll never get over that, but that?s my private problem.
But I did realize that by subtracting my vote from the Labour Party, I was effectively voting for Thatcher to win. That?s how I discovered that that?s what I secretly hoped would happen. And I?m very glad I did. I wouldn?t have been able to say the same about Reagan, I must say. But I don?t think he had her intellectual or moral courage. This would be a very long discussion. You wouldn?t conceivably be able to get it into a REASON interview.
Marx?s original insight about capitalism was that it was the most revolutionary and creative force ever to appear in human history. And though it brought with it enormous attendant dangers, [the revolutionary nature] was the first thing to recognize about it. That is actually what the Manifesto is all about. As far as I know, no better summary of the beauty of capital has ever been written. You sort of know it?s true, and yet it can?t be, because it doesn?t compute in the way we?re taught to think. Any more than it computes, for example, that Marx and Engels thought that America was the great country of freedom and revolution and Russia was the great country of tyranny and backwardness.
But that?s exactly what they did think, and you can still astonish people at dinner parties by saying that. To me it?s as true as knowing my own middle name. Imagine what it is to live in a culture where people?s first instinct when you say it is to laugh. Or to look bewildered. But that?s the nearest I?ve come to stating not just what I believe, but everything I ever have believed, all in one girth.