What’s Left? Democratiya

There’s a review by Oliver Kamm in the current issue of Democratiya, which as always is worth reading cover to cover.

NB This review is endorsed by Radiohead, so don’t knock it.

Kamm highlights the central argument of the book.

‘Over the past century, the Left’s demands have made extraordinary gains. Material advancement, universal education, civil rights, sexual equality, and rights for homosexuals (not yet, unfortunately, extending to marriage and adoption rights) are features of modern Western democracies that have been secured by social pressure and legislative reform. Almost in a fit of pique, liberals seem determined on obliviousness. It is as if there were – as the literary critic Lionel Trilling termed it – an adversary culture. When the most virulent opponents of Western societies express their demands in the language not of a common humanity but of superstition and bigotry, the first instinct of the upholders of the Enlightenment ought to be a statement of militant opposition. In what passes for modern liberalism, the first instinct is commonly instead to inquire of – in the uncelebrated cliché – the root causes of that hatred.’

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