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Friday Ephemera

An Adversarial Relationship

In the comments to this, a reader, Vitruvius, posted an extract from Alan Charles Kors’ 2003 essay, Can There Be An ‘After Socialism’? I think it’s worth sharing, as it touches on a number of recent comments here, most notably with regard to oppositional posturing, redefinitions of prejudice and the ideological denial of reality.

“Until Socialism… is confronted with its lived reality, the greatest atrocities of all recorded human life, we will not live ‘after Socialism.’ It will not happen. The pathology of Western intellectuals has committed them to an adversarial relationship with the culture - free markets and individual rights - that has produced the greatest alleviation of suffering; the greatest liberation from want, ignorance and superstition; and the greatest increase of bounty and opportunity in the history of all human life…

The cognitive behaviour of Western intellectuals faced with the accomplishments of their own society on the one hand, and with the Socialist ideal, and then the Socialist reality, on the other, takes one's breath away. In the midst of unparalleled social mobility in the West, they cry ‘caste’. In a society of munificent goods and services, they cry either ‘poverty’ or ‘consumerism’. In a society of ever richer, more varied, more productive, more self-defined, and more satisfying lives, they cry ‘alienation’. In a society that has liberated women, racial minorities, religious minorities, and gays and lesbians to an extent that no one could have dreamed possible just fifty years ago, they cry ‘oppression’… 

In the names of fantasy worlds and mystical perfections, they have closed themselves to the Western, liberal miracle of individual rights, individual responsibility, merit, and human satisfaction. Like Marx, they put words like ‘liberty’ in quotation marks when these refer to the West….”

The full essay can be read here. Related, this and this. Let the rumblings begin. And, of course, feel free to make a donation.