Opium of the Intellectuals by Raymond Aron

By Raymond Aron

Raymond Aron's 1955 masterpiece The Opium of the Intellectuals, is likely one of the nice works of 20th- century political mirrored image. Aron indicates how noble rules can slide into the tyranny of "secular faith" and emphasizes how political inspiration has the profound accountability of telling the reality approximately social and political reality-in all its mundane imperfections and tragic complexities.

Aron explodes the 3 "myths" of radical inspiration: the Left, the Revolution, and the Proletariat. every one of those rules, Aron indicates, are ideological, mystifying instead of illuminating. He additionally presents a desirable sociology of highbrow existence and a strong critique of historic determinism within the classically restricted prose for which he's justly famous.

For this new version, ready through Daniel J. Mahoney and Brian C. Anderson as a part of Transaction's ongoing "Aron Project," political scientist Harvey Mansfield presents a luminous advent that underscores the everlasting relevance of Aron's paintings. the recent variation additionally contains as an appendix "Fanaticism, Prudence, and Faith," a awesome essay that Aron wrote to safeguard Opium from its critics and to provide an explanation for additional his view of the correct position of political pondering. The ebook can be of curiosity to all scholars of political concept, heritage, and sociology.

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Sample text

But it docs not necessarily introduce a new conception of property rights. According to Marxism, the abolition of private ownership of the means of production constitutes the essential characteristic of a revolution. But neither in the past nor at the present day has the downfall of thrones or republics, the overthrow of the State by active minorities, always coincided with a disruption of juridical norms. It would be wrong to suggest that violence is inseparable from the values of the Left: in fact the opposite is nearer the truth.

F Michel Crozier in Esprit, November 195*, pp. 584-5. -M. Domenech in Esprit, November 195s, pp. 701-2. 34 THE opium of the intellectuals the Soviet Union is always right, a man of the Left? Those who demand liberty for all the peoples of Asia and Africa, but not for the Poles or the East Germans, are they men of the Left? The language of the historical Left may have triumphed in our day; the spirit of the eternal Left is surely dying, when pity itself is a ‘one-way’ virtue. CHAPTER II THE MYTH OF THE REVOLUTION T HE idea of Progress is implicit in the myth of the Left, which feeds on the idea of a continuous move­ ment.

P. envisaged, soon after the end of the Second World War. the establish­ ment of a French equivalent to the British Labour Move­ ment, but they were deserted by their potential followers. This failure was due only in a minor degree to a lack of leadership: the past, in the shape of the struggle between the Church and the Revolution, remained too actual, too many workers were deceived by the confusion between Communism and advanced Socialism, too many petty bourgeois were in­ clined to conservatism by their attachment to the old way of life.

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