Podhoretz and Violence

It is a recurrent theme. A reader finds an anecdote in Peter Manso's book on Norman Mailer:

"[Podhoretz] came over to me. I'm paraphrasing but it was about five sentences in a row, to the effect: 'Ginsberg, you really have some talent...if you'd only get rid of those friends of yours like Burroughs and Kerouac..."

"To my eternal shame, I lost my temper...I started screaming at him, 'You big dumb fuckhead! You idiot! You don't know anything about anything!'"

"Now, true to his particular nature, Podhoretz thought I was going to get violent, because that's all he thinks about ... Podhoretz yelled, 'He's going to get violent.' and Mailer came over and took my arm, so I had to reassure him I wasn't going to hit anybody..."

There were many, many good reasons for some liberals to renounce the left-liberalism of the late 1960s and 1970s. And when I think of neoconservatives in the best sense, Nathan Glazer and Daniel Bell spring to mind (although Bell would disdain the term, I think). But Podhoretz, more than most neocons, seems drawn to the thrill of violence, as fanatics of the far left and far right often are. Podhoretz, of course, has partaken in the violent fantasies of both extremes in his own lifetime. And I have come to realize these past few years that I was blind to this streak among some neocons, their actual love of war, and hegemony, their suppressed desire to strike back at their perceived enemies - blacks, Arabs, liberals - sometimes literally. In that context, their support for torture makes more sense, doesn't it?