Friday, December 31, 2010

David Remnick Joins the Israeli Haters and the Leftist British Intellectuals

Ron Radosh
28 December '10

There used to be a time, in the 1940s and 1950s, when the term “New York intellectuals” was taken as a badge of honor, if one belonged to that small but influential group. The term referred to the small group of writers around journals like Partisan Review and later on the early Commentary, as well as Dwight Macdonald’s Politics. The group usually included the likes of Lionel Abel, Philip Rahv, Irving Howe, Irving Kristol, Daniel Bell, Mary McCarthy, William Phillips, Nathan Glazer and others. These were fiercely independent writers, many of them coming out of the Trotskyist movement. They had affection for “the old man,” as the exiled Bolshevik was called, but they soon left his orbit, viewing it as irrelevant to the American scene and highly sectarian to boot.

As time passed and the group grew old, its ranks thinned. Many influenced by them moved into the general orbit of anti-Communist liberalism, and over time, some of the group became the founding fathers of what came to be called neo-conservatism. Others remained anti-Communist liberals, while some still called themselves democratic socialists. Of the latter, the most fierce opponent of the Communists and fellow travelers, a thorough hawk on foreign policy and an ally of the new conservatives, was the philosopher and former Marxist, Sidney Hook. Hated by the entire left-wing, Hook generally regarded himself as one of the new conservatives. But to his dying day, he continued to call himself a socialist, although his allies — all of whom by now were thorough conservatives — ignored this and regarded it as a strange but unimportant eccentricity.

(Read full "David Remnick Joins the Israeli Haters...")

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