godwin's book deal28 Oct 2005
Via Matt Welch at Hit&Run, who includes a good bit from an older post where he echoes my thoughts as well on the contextless abuse of Orwell in co-opting and applying the term “fascist” to the anti-war left:
It used to be that Hitch deployed this Partisan Review-style vocabulary to convince his old Internationalist comrades that Yugoslavia was the next Spanish Civil War. But now it’s just a violate-Godwin’s-Law-for-free card, which a grateful pro-war nation has embraced, providing yet more evidence that there is no Lefty rhetorical trope the Right will despise enough to avoid co-opting completely.
Such deft rhetorical switchery and political shape-shifting leads to a lot of unintentional comedy, and here’s my favorite: Hitchens’ biggest new fans are especially fond of extrapolating from George Orwell’s old saw about pacifism being “objectively pro-fascist,” sometimes as headlines on links to Hitch’s latest. But as Eric Blair’s modern popularizer knows too well, Orwell – whose original essay, it should be mentioned, was referring to British pacifists during Hitler’s bombing siege of London – repudiated his “objectively pro-fascist” line before the War was even over, in an essay about propaganda that’s well worth your time.