Empty Days

Monday, July 12, 2004



Leftism in the nude.

227. Our discussion of leftism has a serious weakness. It is still far from clear what we mean by the word "leftist." There doesn't seem to be much we can do about this. Today leftism is fragmented into a whole spectrum of activist movements. Yet not all activist movements are leftist, and some activist movements (e.g., radical environmentalism) seem to include both personalities of the leftist type and personalities of thoroughly un-leftist types who ought to know better than to collaborate with leftists. Varieties of leftists fade out gradually into varieties of non-leftists and we ourselves would often be hard-pressed to decide whether a given individual is or is not a leftist. To the extent that it is defined at all, our conception of leftism is defined by the discussion of it that we have given in this article, and we can only advise the reader to use his own judgment in deciding who is a leftist.
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I love this kind of talk, it's almost baby-talk: the kid who said the king is naked. Unabomber's analysis of today's "leftism" is splendidly correct. There is indeed a great confusion as to the whole concept - as it keeps mutating and falling apart.

In other words, there is in fact a huge crisis of ideas - and it's been picking up speed since the fall of USSR in 1991. It's been a grueling and uncertain decade. We still don't really know what will come out of it. But the 60's intellectual elites are fading away at light speed. A turning point is nearby. The manifesto was published in 1995 and it already says what we are clearly seeing today and now. Quite a timely writ - no matter that it comes straight from the mid-60's.

And Nietzsche who said he would only be truly understood by the beginning of the 3rd millenium... That doesn't sound so great but we are living through this anyhow. We'll see.

I can't explain why I feel such satisfaction from reading Ted's manifesto - it doesn't bother me for a second that he's killed people. This in itself is a revealing symptom.





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