I am more than a little amused by Matt Karp’s reference to the “constant sorrows of the twentieth century Anglo-American left” (via 3 Quarks Daily). Query: Could it be that those “sorrows” were so “constant” because the twentieth century Anglo-American left pledged constant fealty to Marxist/communist ideas that never worked and never had or will have a sandcastle’s chance in an earthquake of working?
Equally amusing is the following passage:
The central experience of the twenty-first century, of course, cannot yet be reckoned. But whatever it is, we can be grateful that all our dreams and arguments about a just, egalitarian future will not be defined — or distracted, or divided, or destroyed — by the fate of a particular Russian dictatorship.
Why shouldn’t “the fate of a particular Russian dictatorship” (and it should be noted by those interested in accurately presenting history that the dictatorship in question encompassed far more than just Russia or Russians) ensure that the “dreams and arguments” of the “Anglo-American left” be “defined — or distracted, or divided, or destroyed”? Does Karp really believe that the Soviet Union was a one-off when it came to implementing Marxist/communist ideas and ideals? Does he somehow think that the rest of Eastern Europe, Cuba, Nicaragua and/or Venezuela have turned out better? Does he think that China was once all that and a bag of chips … until the authoritarians running it decided to just become communist in name?
Marx was right about one thing: “Hegel says somewhere that that great historic facts and personages recur twice. He forgot to add: ‘Once as tragedy, and again as farce.’” Alas, Matt Karp doesn’t seem to remember his Marx nearly as well as he ought to.
Nota Bene: Let’s all stop pretending that Eric Hobsbawm was some great, sainted figure. He wasn’t.