Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wow, a blast from the past about Romanticism and Socialism...

This time from May 31st, 2002. An essay on this site written when I was still an, albeit very left wing, Marxist-Leninist.


I don't agree with a lot of things in the essay, and believe that some of the things in it are historically inaccurate, but it's interesting for the conntinuity of ideas. Also, searching for Lenin references in the blog I came across an early post suggesting that someday I should collect Lenin's more libertarian writings and put them together as "The unknown Lenin". Well, maybe some things do change....in any case Slavoj Zizek, the Slovene philosopher, has already done that.

"Lenin and creative liberty...

It's come to my attention that those of you who are either unintiated into the wonderful mysteries of Marxist-Leninism ;) or who have dissenting views on the nature of it might have some trouble understanding why I put Lenin, who's percieved by many to be a rigid dogmatic authoritarian, in the category of being a creative liberal....Let me explain. Creative liberty, in my view, is as much a stance as a doctrine. When the Socialist movement first started in the early nineteenth century it was up against a liberal orthodoxy which was highly rationalistic and which couldn't accommodate both the idea of individual liberty and people being determined by class at the same time. In other words it wasn't flexable enough to modify it's definition of individual liberty in the face of criticism...This forced the Socialist movement to be very creative in coming up with alternatives. Fourier, Saint-Simon, and Robert Owen, as well as many other Utopians blazed trails into unknown territory with their strange new conceptions of how society worked and of how it could be made to work better. But they were working with essentially no background resources. They were part of a larger reaction against sterile liberalism led by the Romantic philosophers and authors....Lenin's creativity comes out in the fact that his conception of Marxism and society was created in a similar vacuum. "

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