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Eric Hobsbawm’s Champagne Communism

Well, well, well:

Leading Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm left more than £1.8million in his will, it has been revealed.

Hobsbawm, who died aged 95 in October 2012, was one of Britain’s most eminent historians, but he was widely criticised for his defence of communist regimes.

He was accused of being an apologist for the totalitarian evils of Soviet communism and labelled a ‘useful idiot’.

According to records held at the Brighton probate office, Hobsbawm – who joined the Communist Party at 14 and once described himself as an  ‘unrepentant communist’ – left an estate with assets totalling £1,835,341.

The bulk is to be held in trust, with the income going to his second wife Marlene. The couple were married for 50 years.

Ah. So not only was the communist Hobsbawm worth about $3 million, but he died and left it all not to the state, nor to the Communist Party, nor even to the Labour Party, and certainly not as alms for the poor, on whose behalf he purported to devote his life’s work. He left it to his wife, and two of his kids (the illegitimate son only got about $5,000).

When Hobsbawm passed, A.N. Wilson did not mourn him:

Eric Hobsbawm took part in one of the most extraordinary conversations ever on British television. Speaking in 1994 to the author Michael Ignatieff about the fall of the Berlin Wall five years earlier, the historian was asked how he felt about his earlier support for the Soviet Union.

If Communism had achieved its aims, but at the cost of, say, 15 to 20 million people – as opposed to the 100million it actually killed in Russia and China – would Hobsbawm have supported it? His answer was a single word: ‘Yes’.

But he was widely feted in his life by the British establishment. Wilson continued:

Hobsbawm himself will sink without trace. His books will not be read in the future. They are little better than propaganda, and, in spite of the slavish language in the obituaries, are badly written.

What his death tells us, however, is that the liberal establishment that really runs this country has learned no lessons from history. It is still prepared to bow down and worship a man who openly hated Britain – and who knowingly wrote lies.

And who went to his grave a multimillionaire, and kept the money all in the family. Champagne Communism is a good racket, innit?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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