Sunday, June 29, 2008

Friends Become Troglydytes

In the last year or so, an old friend has becoming a raving neo-con. At first, I thought it was a joke because he always had an ironic tone when he espoused such positions; a number of savage exchanges later, I've discovered that he's not joking. It's an odd time for that movement to gain a convert - they've failed in so many ways. Yet it has. He even goes so far as to say the Iraq war was a good idea, just poorly executed. According to him, the war was the brainchild of Bush and Cheney and anyone who claims Wolfowitz and Feith were involved is anti-Semitic.

My friend labels himself a 'realist' but what could be less realistic than the belief that invading Iraq would spread peace throughout the Middle East (he also claims that 'everyone' supported the invasion until it went south)?

It's strange and sad to see a friend undergo such a conversion in early middle-age - it's as if he joined a cult. I've tried to trace the evolution of the change. My friend, from the working class, always resented the liberal pieties of the upper-middle class and rich kids he went to college with. His attitude for years though was generally contemptuous and nihilistic (with some left elements). I remember reading a Trotsky review of Celine's first novel. Trotsky presciently wrote that someone who so intensely perceived the filth and misery of world and hated the bourgeois as much Celine did, would soon become either a fascist or a communist. We know what happened to Celine.

3 comments:

Steve Imparl said...

My friend labels himself a 'realist' but what could be less realistic than the belief that invading Iraq would spread peace throughout the Middle East...

That belief is sadly reminiscent of the old idea that held sway during the Vietnam war: "We must destroy this village in order to save it [from the communist Viet Cong]!"

I try to remember that for the people in Iraq, this ugly situation is not a polite intellectual chat about the echos of one war being heard during another; it's the deadly reality of daily life. When I remember that, I get sick.

mangeek said...

Keep an eye on your friend. I knew someone who had a similar unexpected conversion, and a year later he was in the mental hospital saying that God told him to shred -all- his paperwork (taxes, deeds, -everything-).

Rapid and drastic changes in politics, religious beliefs, and other life-defining characteristics can indicate mental illness.

Robot Boy said...

I think I'd be happier if my old friend took the 'God told me to do it' route.