Chapter

Ethical Correctness and the Decline of the Left

Jonathan Rée

in A Matter of Principle

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780520244863
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932166 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520244863.003.0012
Ethical Correctness and the Decline of the Left

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This chapter begins with a discussion of the Russian Revolution which had become a political symbol as well as a historic event. The Leninists were far too willing to follow the classic philosophical line about politics. The tradition of political leftism as distinct from ethical liberalism came close to collapse toward the end of the twentieth century. After Iraq, the left was no longer a band of committed activists with a debatable analysis and a contentious program; instead, it had dissolved into a broad popular front making common cause with the prophets of doom. While the liberal position was consistent and predictable, the left almost completely failed to mount any distinct arguments for joining the “antiwar coalition.” The left is in danger of a complete loss of nerve when confronted with the appalling costs of action and the sobering thought that the costs of inaction may be even greater.

Keywords: Russian Revolution; Left; Lennists; political leftism; Iraq; ethical liberalism; antiwar coalition

Chapter.  5252 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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