Friday, June 17, 2005

Two from 08/03:

On Hobsbawm and things in general

On the same, and the glories of the immigrant middle class

from the first:
People who imagine themselves as adventurous often feel frustrated around those whom they perceive as being static or unimaginative. The rise of liberalism is seen by many as the rise of freedom for the curious, and libertarianism is the most extreme version of this romance. Among the only groups who have seen it as their goal to defend the 'less imaginative,' to defend the people who want nothing more than to be left alone to their small lives, and who made this defense without defending reaction - among the only ones who have promoted the active involvement of such people themselves in their defense- have been those associated with some aspect or another of communism.

It takes a certain kind of intellect to defend the notion that the world is not the playground of intellectuals. My impatience with the hypocrisies of liberalism stems from the sense liberals seem to have that what's good for them is good for the country; but as my old neighbors in Brooklyn will tell you, that isn't true. I have as much contempt for the hierarchy that once existed in the communist party as I do for the hierarchy that still exists in the far older conspiracy that is the Catholic church. But I have the same respect for the minor, the unobservant, or the casually faithful in both parties.
And of the rest, my kinsmen, I prefer the company of honest machiavels to earnest liars.

1 comment:

buermann said...

I love Hobsbawm, I love that fact that he's unrepentant about his communism, that he's perfectly validated in his personal stances, that he's sympathetic to his material and rarely barbaric.

Same time I'm re-reading here his 'Reflections on Anarchism', he hasn't got much against it other than that it never was able to hold its own against Communists, Facists, or whatever it was facing. At one point he's arguing its all just rehashed marxism and the next he's saying its sainthood: "Admirable, but hopeless ... designed for failure".

I think about that a lot.