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The new anti-Americanism

Empire concludes with a section called “Militant,” printed entirely in italics. “In the postmodern era, as the figure of the people dissolves, the militant is the one who best expresses the life of the multitude: the agent of biopolitical production and resistance against Empire.” Hardt and Negri praise “the communist and liberatory combatants of the twentieth-century revolutions” and assure us that “militancy today is a positive, constructive, and innovative activity.” The most nauseating part of the book comes at the very end: “This is a revolution that no power will control—because biopower and communism, cooperation and revolution remain together, in love, simplicity, and also innocence. This is the irrepressible lightness and joy of being communist.”

Although written in the abstract language of the graduate seminar, Empire has an ominously pragmatic aim: to undermine faith in the liberal institutions that inform American democracy. It is a poisonous book whose ultimate goal is not to understand but to destroy society. Harvard University Press should be ashamed of publishing it. Sensible citizens should be alarmed that it is glorified by trendy intellectuals and the press. It is sometimes suggested that America’s culture wars are over. The adulation showered upon Empire and its authors, together with the horrible events of September 11, show that the real battles have yet to be joined.Add a note!Read more...

Force of destiny

An agnostic, Verdi portrayed God as alternately absent and alarming - the non-existent being to whom the characters of The Force of Destiny address endlessly unanswered prayers: the judgmental deity of the Requiem who terrorises man into cowering submission and whose church on earth has become, in Don Carlos, an instrument of oppression.Add a note!Read more...


Hellenism in Music: Lost Art and Culture Recovered

Raymond Aron & the power of ideas

The primary target of Aron’s polemic was fanaticism. But he also recognized that the defeat of fanaticism often leads to a contrary spiritual sickness, indifference. Both are expressions of the ultimate enemy, nihilism. Skepticism, Aron wrote, is useful or harmful depending on which is more to be feared at the moment: fanaticism or apathy. The intervening faculty that orients us appropriately is practical wisdom, prudence, “the god” (Aron quotes Burke) “of this lower world.” In other words, skepticism for Aron is not the end but a means.Add a note!Read more...

The return of decoration

After the death of Queen Victoria, ornamental architecture fell into disrepute. A century later, Giles Worsley sees signs of revival.Add a note!

Movie criticism can be refreshing

Genuine and valid remarks on current and past movies. Make a bookmark!Add a note!Read more...




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