mupetblast (EDIT: aka Dain) in the Attack the System group points to this review by Philip Hammond in Spiked of Paul Berman’s “Power and the Idealists” and Paul Hockenos’ “Joschka Fischer and the Making of the Berlin Republic”. Aside from Fischer (foreign minister of Germany), the former book focuses on Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister. Both men were radicals back in 1968 but they became divided over the Iraq war (which Kouchner supported and Fischer opposed). I have been peeved by Spiked in the past for their attempt to make the modern right seem “hip” by aping the history of the left (see their critique of environmentalists as a middle class oppressing those below them). This review seemed to take the opposite tack. It seems to reject modern “humanitarian interventionism” as being just as foolish as the 60s radicalism that preceded it. One good part is the arrogance of those behind “the ’68ers’ war” in Kosovo, where Kouchner was made governor once it was a protectorate. Though many liberals still point to it as an example of good intervention, Hammond points out how they were fooled into seeing genocide when it wasn’t there and ignored violence perpetrated against the Serbs once the dust settled. Another good part is how lofty ideology served to mask the age-old rivalry of French and English imperialism (more specifically in the Biafran war) which seems quite different from the monolithic “international community” that Mencius Moldbug paints. A final interesting point is the publication in Stern magazine of photos with Fischer and his radical buddies beating up a cop. Speaking of which, there is some hubbub (oddly enough among right-wingers who won’t be there to suffer) about a group of barely-disguised Obama supporters calling themselves “Recreate ’68” and the awful violence they will unleash like in the Democratic convention in Chicago. Now can anyone point me out to photos or video of the hippies at that convention committing any violent acts, rather than the Chicago police dishing out violence to them?

On a related story, the American Prospect has a long article on Christopher Hitchens and his ideological migration, which also places a heavy focus on 1968. Although as a paleo I must hate Hitchens and his neo-conservatism, I feel a certain kindred spirit as a thoroughly English “Protestant atheist”. I was disappointed when Mencius Moldbug, who once denied being a cavalier and spoke of “the one revolution which ever was glorious” now declaring himself a Jacobite.

In the same Marginal Revolution post which linked to that Hitchen article, we also find this discussion on the World Bank, governance and growth from Daron Acemoglu, Douglas North, Dani Rodrik and Francis Fukuyama. Quite a find, especially North’s bit. I haven’t read his book, so it might be old stuff to those who have.