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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A QUIZ FOR MY READERS

Why do you suppose I began my comment on Chris Hedges with a paragraph or two about The Dozens?  [Hint:  Think Swift  -- not swiftly.]

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not totally sure of the question you are asking. I thought the comparison was pretty transparent: the ratcheting up of left-wing rhetoric, exemplified by Hedges' piece, resembles the ratcheting up of insults in The Dozens.

Though I'm guessing Jonathan, not Taylor.



Robert Paul Wolff said...

Ah, but what was the deeper meaning and purpose of the comparison, and of the style in which it was presented?

Ed Barreras said...

I'm not a fan of riddles, but do the quotations from Hedges toward the end of the post about slavery and the futility of democratic participation somehow tie into the invocation African-American culture? Am I getting warm?

In any case, I recommend this twenty-year-old-but-still-relevant interview with Richard Rorty as an antidote to the Hedges piece. Here's an excerpt:

At one point in your book, you talk about the leftist jargon that's cluttering up our vocabulary. You say that the Left-versus-liberal distinction is sort of meaningless. But it seems that's a useful shorthand, because if there's a continuum that runs from, say, liberal to Left, you can distinguish The American Prospect from The Nation by calling the former mainstream liberal and the latter Left. And Dissent is more Left than, say, The New Republic, which has historically been progressive.

I really can't see much difference between the journals. The Nation has a tone of skeptical hopelessness, but the measures favored by the people who write for The Nation are pretty much the measures favored by the people who write for The American Prospect and The New Republic. It seems to me a matter of tone rather than of politics. Nobody wants to nationalize production, and so in that sense you've lopped off what used to be the big difference between Left and liberal. We're all social democrats now, and we all favor about the same stuff.

I'd also like to change the way we use the word "Left." Some people say that instead of calling ourselves liberal we can call ourselves progressive. I'd like to call ourselves Left just in order to remind us of the continuity between contemporary social-democratic proposals and those made in the Progressive era, those made by the British Labour Party, those made by the German Social Democratic Party, and so on. And I'd say to the Europeans, "Yeah, we do have a leftist party, it used to be the left wing of the Democratic Party, it's pretty weak these days, but it's a continuous tradition capable of being revived."


https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1998/04/the-next-left/306010/

howie b said...

Swift, you say. either a modest proposal or Gulliver's Travels- since the subject is Trump, though it's been a while since reading it, I'd guess the former.
Though I hesitate to say why or how