[Marxism] Butterflies and Wheels

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 21 09:19:55 MDT 2008

Last Thursday a link titled “The case against Christopher Hitchens” on 
Bookforum pointed me to an article on the website Butterflies and 
Wheels. April Fools must have fallen on July 17th this year since the 
article really was making the case for Hitchens:

"A one-time Marxist, Hitchens’s politics could be defined not so much as 
ideological but a broad opposition to establishment power and discourse, 
and solidarity with victims of cruelty."

Something suggests that the author of the article, a 27 year old 
aspiring novelist, might have been attempting fiction when he wrote that 
Hitchens was opposed to “establishment power”, but apparently not. The 
defense of Hitchens jibes with the editorial slant at Butterflies and 
Wheels (referred to subsequently as B&W), a fountainhead of Islamophobia 
that you can also find on Harry’s Place and Norm Geras’s blog. There is 
the usual defense of the Danish Mohammad cartoons, etc. There are 
attacks on other religions as well all in the name of the kind of 
scientific rationalism epitomized by Richard Dawkins recent atheist tome.

In addition to religion, the website mounts attacks on multiculturalism 
and other forms of “fashionable nonsense.” Kenan Malik, a Spiked Online 
regular, seems to be a designated hitter when it comes to such matters. 
In an article titled “Identity is That Which is Given” that currently 
appears on B&W, Malik argues:

"You do not even have to be human to possess a culture. Primatologists 
tell us that different groups of chimpanzees each has its own culture. 
No doubt some chimp will soon complain that their traditions are 
disappearing under the steamroller of human cultural imperialism."

This clever phrase is just the sort of thing you can find on New 
Criterion, a magazine edited by the neoconservative Hilton Cramer or any 
other rightwing standard bearer in the “culture wars”. Under the guise 
of enlightenment values and the brotherhood of man, what you find 
basically is seething hostility toward any national minority trying to 
defend itself against forced assimilation. B&W, of course, defends the 
French government’s banning of the hijab.

full: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/butterflies-and-wheels/

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