February 23rd 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Something rotten led to fish-kill: perhaps fishy environmentalism

EDITORIAL Resistance grows to Beijing's soft-power push

CANBERRA OBSERVED Climate change: deadly ... to political leaders

TECHNOLOGY Electric cars: UK taxpayers subsidise rich greenies

BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION A step too small?

CYBER SECURITY Chinese smartphone threat extends way beyond Huawei

SOCIETY Such grandeur of spirit

POLITICS John Hewson should have as sturdy a Constitution

FINANCE Hayne royal commission sets agenda for bank reform

FAMILY RELATIONS Dad: a girl's first and most influential love

COMMENTARY Words gone feral: rights and equality

MEDICINE AND CULTURE Book captures tragedy of falling foul of a fanatic

SOCIETY AND CULTURE A dog's life: reflections of a grey nomad

HUMOUR

MUSIC Serialism a killer: Ideas tend to get in the way

CINEMA Cold Pursuit: Revenge served up manic

BOOK REVIEW Why the West and nowhere else

BOOK REVIEW The escalation of horror and atrocity

LETTERS

Books promotion page

FOOLS, FRAUDS AND FIREBRANDS:
Thinkers of the New Left

Roger Scruton

$35.00


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(Bloomsbury Continuum, London, 2015)

Hardcover:304 pages

ISBN: 9781408187333

Price: AUD$35.00

 

The thinkers who have been most influential on the attitudes of the New Left are examined in this study by one of the leading critics of leftist orientations in modern Western civilisation. Scruton begins with a ruthless analysis of New Leftism and concludes with a critique of the key strands in its thinking. He conducts a reappraisal of such major left-wing thinkers as: E. P. Thompson, Ronald Dworkin, R. D. Laing, Jurgen Habermas, Gyorgy Lukacs, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, Ralph Milliband and Eric Hobsbawm. In addition to assessments of these thinkers’ philosophical and political contributions, the book contains a biographical and bibliographical section summarising their careers and most important writings.

In Thinkers of the New Left Scruton asks, what does the left look like today and as it has evolved since 1989? He charts the transfer of grievances from the working class to women, gays and immigrants, asks what can we put in the place of radical egalitarianism, and what explains the continued dominance of antinomian attitudes in the intellectual world? Can there be any foundation for resistance to the leftist agenda without religious faith?

Scruton’s exploration of these important issues is written with skill, perception and at all times with pellucid clarity. The result is a devastating critique of modern left-wing thinking.

Reviews

“Eminent British philosopher and polymath Scruton gives a sharp-edged, provocative critique of leading leftist thinkers since the mid-twentieth century ... complex and erudite” –  Publisher’s Weekly US

“Caustic, highly recherché, and simply great fun to read for the questing intellectual soul.” –  Kirkus Reviews

“From the standpoint of a serious conservatism, it honestly assesses the political and philosophical contributions of the Left. The book also addresses what is likely our most pressing question: 'Can there be any foundation for resistance to the leftist agenda without religious faith?'” –  Catholic World Report

“Since he no longer has a university career to protect, Scruton can now tweak the nose of academic leftism to his heart's content… Scruton is at his best, (and funniest) when trying to make sense of [Alain] Badiou’s weird confection historical materialism and Platonic mathematical theory” –  Jonathan Derbyshire, Prospect

“The book is a masterpiece ... In crisp, sometimes brilliant prose, Mr Scruton considers scores of works in three languages, giving the reader an understanding of each thinker's overarching aim and his place within the multifaceted movement known as the New Left. He neither ridicules nor abuses the writers he considers; he patiently deconstructs them, first explaining their work in terms they themselves would recognise and then laying bare their warped assumptions and empty pretensions.” –  Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal

 

Professor Roger Scruton is freelance writer, philosopher, author of more than 40 books, broadcaster and public commentator. He is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.


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