At the Friday night banquet, we sat next to a guy named Paul. Speaking of true believers, there is nothing of the hard Left catechism Paul hasn’t imbibed. He believes in Hugo Chavez. He believes that Zimbabwe’s Mugabe is taking from the rich to give to the poor. I thought this was ironic given the pervading emphasis at this conference on separating reality from myth. Lefties love to toss the epithet “fascist.” Nobody is more fascist than Chavez and Mugabe. But if they don the label “socialist” or “anti-capitalist” or “anti-imperialist,” the Left says, “Oh! All right then!” and turns a blind eye to the most despicable violations of human rights.
I did not mince words in responding to Paul. But (vide my opening comment) further encounters with him were perfectly cordial, and in fact, he was not deterred from begging a lift to the train station the next night – ever the ideologue, he insisted on torturing himself by using public transport exclusively, to and from the conference – though I guess bumming a lift in our car somehow didn’t count as a violation of his principle. Anyhow, we gave him the lift.