Thursday, June 30, 2005


Found this interesting essay in-progress. Here's a taster
Cretino-Leftism is a persistent stream of radical Left thought which, I argue here, is characterized by opposition - explicit or implied - to the Enlightenment project tout court: sometimes to liberal democracy, sometimes to the rationalist outlook, and sometimes to both. In its most extreme and virulent form, Cretino-Leftism is Left-Fascism. The analysis given here is by no means original. In fact, the analysis given here is little but a restatement of that was given long ago by F.A. Hayek, Karl Popper, Bertrand Russell and George Orwell in classic anti-totalitarian works in the 1940s, around the end of the second world war. A similar argument has been set out recently, in Richard Wolin’s The Seduction of Unreason (2004) and, somewhat more mockingly, in Francis Wheen’s How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World (2004).

The Cretino-Left terrain is complex. I propose a classification into two main sub-variants: a political form and an epistemological form. These variants of Cretino-Leftism are importantly different, though there are important commonalities. Some political Cretino-Leftists have, in fact, been consistent critics of the epistemological variant. A well-known example is Noam Chomsky’s long-standing criticisms of postmodernism. There are also the usual internecine struggles, which require no further analysis.
The author is making a stand for liberalism and has criticisms of Marx and Marxism but makes the point
despite my disagreements with the theories of Marx and the practices of virtually all followers of Marxism, I think it important to stress the fact that a number of important recent defenders of the Enlightenment Left are Marxists: in particular, Christopher Hitchens, Norman Geras and Francis Wheen.
It's well worth reading the whole piece.

Interestingly the author spent some time in various Smiths-esque indie bands.

Hmm. How soon is now?

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