Hobsbawm died in October around the time I was reading a chapter on him in Tony Judt's wonderful brilliant book Reappraisals, Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, one that convinced me that a cosmopolitan "man of the left" like Judt [or Christopher Hitchens on Israel late in his life] could repudiate, all the while fully understanding Hobsbawm's genius as an historian, his whacked-out gullibility in swallowing the Stalinist brutal crimes against humanity hook, line & sinker.
Dalrymple is scathing in his contempt for Hobsbawm:
A writer of my acquaintance once turned down an invitation to dinner with Hobsbawm (who rarely refused any honor or privilege that the unjust capitalist state could offer him) on the grounds that if Hobsbawm’s political wishes had come to fruition, he would have had his proposed guest shot in short order. A man who could think until late in his life, as Hobsbawn did, that the murder of 20 million people would be justified if it brought about a socialist utopia, would hardly balk at the death of a single bourgeois guest.I wonder if this twisted twit regarded the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea or Castro's murderous police state or Pol Pot's experiment in genocide or Monster Mao of the Cultural Revolution & Great Leap Forward, two exercises in murderous imbecility that killed dozens of millions, with the same reverence he regarded Stalin, the man who took the "Dark Enlightenment" to a new level of cruelty and contempt for humanity.
Here's another short gem from Dalrymple:
...a man of his intelligence had to admit that things had turned out not quite as hoped in the Soviet Union, but he was never able to draw the most obvious lesson or conclusion from the failure. Photographs frequently show his mouth as contorted as his reasoning, as if he were unable to bring himself to speak straightforwardly from both sides of his mouth at the same time, as it were.Wish I'd said that...!!!