May 13, 2002


The Real David Brock: Minority Report (CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, May 27, 2002, The Nation)
When incurable liberals like Todd Gitlin and Eric Alterman begin using the name Whittaker Chambers as a term of approbation, we are entitled to say that there has been what the Germans call a Tendenzwende, or shift in the zeitgeist. The odd thing is that they have both chosen to compare Chambers's Witness, a serious and dramatic memoir by any standards, to a flimsy and self-worshiping book titled Blinded by the Right, by David Brock. Meyer Schapiro, one of the moral heroes of the democratic left, once said that Whittaker Chambers was incapable of telling a lie. That might well be phrasing it too strongly, but I have now been provoked by curiosity into reading Brock, and I would say without any hesitation that he is incapable of recognizing the truth, let alone of telling it.

I don't have much interest in David Brock, but I revere Whittaker Chambers, whose tortuous path through the 20th Century seems emblematic of all mankind's. To compare someone like Mr. Brock to him seems to me a heinous sin, if for no other reason than that Mr. Chambers overcame his own homosexual impulses through sheer force of will and faith in God, while Mr. Brock insists that the Right's refusal to condone his proclivities somehow delegitimizes conservatism. That Mr. Chambers also became a crusader for the very cause (conservatism) that Mr. Brock now disavows, also serves to make the comparison invidious.

It's great fun to watch Mr. Hitchens cut Mr. Brock down to size.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 13, 2002 10:24 AM
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