David’s Book Club: Darkness at Noon

[In keeping with my vow to blog more and to turn any fb status longer than what twitter allows into a post here, I offer this. BTW, I was supposed to start with my chili recipe, but Frum pissed me off again.]

I wonder if David Frum and I read the same book (but to be fair, I haven’t read DaN since I was myself a 1980s-era reader). In any case, WTF is this “perverse idealism” he thinks moves Stalinism, Jihadism or in the plot of DaN itself? I don’t think I realized til now that to be a successful shill one needs toxic doses of bougie naïveté.

How can anyone comment, and be heard, about politics today (probably in any day) if one’s epistemology does not entail the basic principle that one’s real, or imagined, enemies are such obdurate true-believers that there’s no reasoning with them? And from the intellectual to the visceral – they hate freedom, yadda yadda yadda.

Seems to me that Frum, despite the recent appearance of some sort of change of heart subsequent to his break with AEI, remains a loyal servant, though to what? you may ask. To the big picture of course, to the forces behind the decade-long Central Asian disaster, and their dreams for a future imperium.*** I don’t recall a bitter word from him, any telling of tales, subsequent to his shit-canning after his wife ran around bragging about how David coined ‘axis of evil’.

So maybe Frum is giving us a wink and a nod at the end of his little Koestler review with his evocation of Bernard Lewis: he’s not so naïve, merely playing his part for the cause, always ready to follow orders.

Again, it’s been almost 30 years since I read DaN, but I always thought that Rubashov didn’t accept his fate with equinimity because he believed, but because he knew, like most thugs and gangsters know, that such a fate is inevitable for the likes of him. FFS, we know how arrests, show-trials, and the obliteration of enemies of the state go, in the course of the novel, because Rubashov narrates, as a former offical, how it’s done.

Like Bo Xilai knows exactly what his part, and his wife Gu Kailai’s part, and Neil Heywood’s part, are in the theatre in which he stands just off centre stage.

Now, I’m not denying that there are those honest-to-god faithful to the ickiest ideologies. But if you, like David Frum, think the locus of power is to be found among them, then you, like David Frum, are not just naïve, you are balls deep in an ugly case of transference, you are a true believer, and you are probably among the first to rat out your neighbour when the cause expects it.

On the other hand, you also die by the sword. My nightmares of an American police state are not without their silver linings – they include the show trials of the likes of David Frum, David Brooks, and Ann Coulter.

***Majorly funny. Soft apologist for America, Fareed Zakharia got caught stealing in service of the cause; aggressive cheerleader, Niall Ferguson, made shit up in that same service. All in these dog-days of the summer of 2012.

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