Christopher Hitchens’ recent column on Zimbabwe reveals, once again, that Hitchens has remained true to his Marxist roots. He begins by praising South Africa’s unions for refusing to unload arms shipments for Zimbabwe, writing that this made him “remember very piercingly how good it sometimes felt to be a socialist,” then praises Karl Marx, and ends up commenting that the South African unions that are the object of his praise “have a long record of allegiance to old-line communism,” and that it may be “an old-style red-labor-union tactic” that topples the “capitalist dictator” Mugabe. In between, he pauses to suggest that Mugabe turned to the dark side as a result of his “old-school missionary Catholicism,” never mentioning the opposition of Zimbabwe’s Catholic bishops to Mugabe’s tyranny.
Marx good, God bad, in the Hitchensian universe, which worldview does not prevent him from being accepted with open arms by the neocons. If only Hitchens had studied Divini Redemptoris as assiduously as Das Kapital, he might not be so surprised when a Marxist dictator like Mugabe ends up as a brutal tyrant.