Sunday, 10 January 2010
The delusions of ideological certainty
By far the most fascinating article in today's papers is Andrew Anthony's tale in the Observer magazine of Malcolm Caldwell, a hopelessly deluded SOAS academic, whose faith in Pol Pot's deranged leadership of Cambodia was rewarded by his murder in a Phnom Penh guesthouse weeks before the Vietnamese invasion that ended the brutality. Even by the standards of 1970s communist apologists, Caldwell stood alone, with a stubborn unwillingness to allow his ideology to be upset by the facts on the ground. Anthony's is a telling footnote to a history that has still to be fully acknowledged in the trial of some of Pol Pot's most brutal henchmen.