Michael Pugliese debsian at
Thu Aug 24 09:01:04 PDT 2000

G'day Carrol,

>> There must exist someplace a more or less systematic account of the
>>tendency >>of most moralistic radical politics to tend towards some sort
>>of caudillismo >>and authoritarianism. The anarchist or the radical
>>populist (a) operates from >>a position of philosophical individualism
>>and (b) is possessed with a vision >>of what should be (rather than with
>>the potential or material necessity of the >>present to transform itself)
>>-- and when individuals fail to measure up and >>reject the vision, one
>>(notthe only but I think the most common) result is as >>you describe
>>above. I don't think one needs to invoke psychology of any kind.

The self-professed 'scientific amoralist' is, if I read my history correctly, no less likely to tend towards some such sort of thing. But then, mebbe scientific amoralism is a state impossible for a real human to inhabit. Wouldn't like to meet one such, anyway.

Cheers, Rob.

Wasn't aware of this collection of essays by two ex-students of Lukacs. By the review (which goes on at some length) I gather that it is a collection of their essays from the 80's, many of which were published in Telos, Thesis Eleven and Social Research, the journal of the New School. Telos, in the mid-80's had a bit of a debate, over several issues, between Heller and Feher and Joel Whitebrook -now a psychoanalyst, I've seen his pieces in American Imago. M.I.T. Press published a good book by him a while back. Forget the title, cover was the famous Bruegel) on "redemptive politics" and it's tendency towards authoritarianism, that is well worth reading. And contra Carrol, I don't think that only populists and anarchists have these hidden dangers lurking underneath their assumptions about "human nature". What Michael Lowy termed, Lukacs's, "romantic anti-capitalism, " slid (not without ambivalences) into leninist apologetics. I suspect (only have given it a very brief skim a few years ago) that a biography of Lukacs by Arpad Kadarkay, "Georg Lukacs: Life, Thought and Politics, " may shed light on life events (like a tempestuous affair circa 1918-1919 with a Hungarian Bolshevik) that, influenced his already in transit, left turn.

This could be informative too. Lukacs' Road to God: The Early Criticism against Its Pre-Marxist Background by Michael Holzman. And this- Lukacs after Communism: Interviews with Contemporary Intellectuals edited by Eva L. Corredor. Finally, Kolakowski's three volumes on Marxism from Oxford, even given his Cold War pessimistic resignation (see E.P. Thompson's Open letter to Leszek Kolakowski in the Poverty of Theory) those volumes give a good background to the philosophical underpinnings of the major marxist schools.

Subject(s): GRANDEUR & Twilight of Radical Universalism, The (Book) Source: New German Critique, Winter93 Issue 58, p179, 12p Author(s): Roberts, David Abstract: Reviews the book `The Grandeur and Twilight of Radical Universalism,' by Agnes Heller and Ferenc Feher.

Michael Pugliese

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