[lbo-talk] Overrated writers

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Mon Apr 25 12:10:07 PDT 2011

On Mon, 25 Apr 2011 13:37:25 -0400 Jim Farmelant <farmelantj at juno.com> writes:
> On Mon, 25 Apr 2011 09:36:59 -0400 // ravi <ravi at platosbeard.org>
> writes:
> >
> > Wrote the below off-list to someone:
> >
> > I would have said much the same (Popper as more of a libertarian).

It should be noted that Karl Popper was a close friend of his fellow Austrian emigre, Friedrich Hayek. Despite the fact that a great many years Popper was a confirmed social democrat, Hayek realized early on that Popper's work, 'The Open Society and Its Enemies' could be an effective tool for bashing Marxism. Therefore, when Popper was still languishing at a backwater university in New Zealand, Hayek worked to get Popper's book published and he helped Popper to get a chair at the London School of Economics too.

Jim Farmelant http://independent.academia.edu/JimFarmelant www.foxymath.com Learn or Review Basic Math

> I
> > think perhaps those on the Marxist Left find his antagonism
> towards
> > their guru the equivalent of a conservative position? Between
> > Marxism and conservatism are a wide range of others, including
> > old-fashioned liberalism. I mean, there is indeed a direct line
> > linking Popper to Soros’s politics, isn’t there? In the linked
> > piece, Eagleton himself differentiates between Burkean
> conservatism
> > and the “unpolitical” (what one might call “knee jerk” in the USA)
> > attitude he attributes to Naipaul: a "distaste for the political
> in
> > favor of the customary, instinctual, and spontaneous.”.
> Popper, for a good many years labeled himself as a social democrat.
> His
> biographer,Malachi Hacohen in *Karl Popper: The Formative Years,
> 1902-1945* makes the case that the anti-Marxism of *The Open Society
> and
> Its Enemies* was forged originally not within a cold war context
> but
> rather was forged within the context of the debates within the
> Austrian
> Social Democratic Party to which Popper had belonged, up to 1938,
> over to
> how best to meet the fascist threat, and that much of Popper's
> hostility
> towards Marxism was motivated by his conviction that the Austrian
> and
> German Social Democrats had been crippled in their struggle against
> the
> rise of fascism by the Marxism that was dominant within those
> parties.
> (Hacohen, himself, BTW considers Popper's assessments of
> Austro-Marxism
> to have been unduly harsh, pointing out the contributions that Otto
> Bauer
> and the others had made to the analysis of fascism).
> Popper it should be noted, leaned towards to the Austrian Social
> ' anti-Marxist wing, which championed the revisionism of Eduard
> Bernstein against the dominant Austro-Marxism. And indeed, much of
> Popper's take on Marxism and the case for reformism which one finds
> in
> *The Open Society* can be seen as being part derived from the
> arguments
> that had first been expressed by Bernstein many years earlier.
> It turned out to be fortitious for Popper that the critique of
> Marxism
> which had originally been forged in the context of the debates of
> the
> Austrian Social Democrats turned out to especially useful for the
> cold
> warriors in waging ideological warfare against the Soviet Union.
> Jim Farmelant
> http://independent.academia.edu/JimFarmelant
> www.foxymath.com
> Learn or Review Basic Math
> >
> > —ravi
> >
> >
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