The Corner

Cretin Watch

It is impossible to imagine that the New York Times would fawn over a contemporary philosopher of fascism, but the gray lady has done the moral equivalent with a slobber job on Marxist ‘cultural critic’ Terry Eagleton, a malevolent, if eloquent, half-wit who, we are told, continues to admire the seer of Trier, with the approval, it seems, of the paper of record:

“Still, his work is shadowed by Roman Catholicism. Mr. Eagleton seems to find a confluence between his interpretation of Marxism and Christianity, in a shared ethic of cooperativism, and protection of the poor and the weak.”

I’ll leave the theologically-inclined to discuss that particular interpretation of Christianity, but, at its core, Marxism has, of course, nothing to do with “cooperativism” or the “protection of the poor and the weak.” Crazy Karl’s crazy doctrines, a mish-mash of lousy economics, worse history and a profound contempt for humanity, are nothing more than the ravings of a millennial cultist, impressive only in the intellectual atmosphere of a lunatic asylum or, more charitably, the debating society of a third-rate high school.

But then there’s more:

“If you want the most trenchant account of Stalinism you have to go to Marxism, not liberalism,” says Eagleton. That is, quite simply, a lie, albeit a lie unchallenged by the Times dozy reporter, and it’s a lie that collapses into complete incoherence with this:

“Stalinism wasn’t, from our point of view, radical enough. Long before Tiananmen Square the mainstream Marxists were saying the Soviet system is a travesty. You can’t build Communism in backward conditions. You need international support. You need a society with a liberal democracy. Marx always saw socialism in continuity with middle-class democracy.”

The relevance of “Tiananmen Square,” an essentially liberal democratic, not Marxist, critique of Communist savagery, escapes me, and if ‘mainstream’ Marxists were highly critical of the Soviet system ‘long before’ those terrible events, it’s a somewhat hollow achievement: that massacre took place less than three years before the Soviet collapse. Yes, some Marxists did ‘renounce’ the Soviet model, but this was nothing more than the protestations of a few rats attempting to justify their departure from a sinking ship.

In reply to the Times’ request for “advice,” the great sage comes up with this: “Get out of NATO. Get rid of capitalism. Put the economy back into public ownership.” Quite how the last two of those three are to be reconciled with “liberal democracy” or, for that matter, Eagleton’s three homes: a “19th-century Georgian-style row house in Dublin…an apartment in Manchester…and an 18th-century rectory near Londonderry” is never discussed.

But that would be too much to expect from the Times, wouldn’t it?