December 13, 2003

A Defense of Norman Geras

Some of my conservative readers emailed me in exasperation that I linked approvingly to the blog by Professor Norman Geras, who is a Marxist.

I can understand (a little) if someone is surprised. But I think anyone who has read my stuff with any regularity ought to know by now that I do not provide links to totalitarian communists unless I am going to open up both barrels on 'em.

I am not a Marxist, but Norman Geras shares my value system and we have many opinions in common. He and I arrived at the same place by different roads. We both hail from different left-wing traditions, but we’re both old lefties all the same.

I also provide approving links to conservatives, as does the good professor. One of the many things he and I have in common is that we know very well that we can learn from smart and decent people with different backgrounds and ideas than ourselves. A lot of people who read my site, including the conservatives who expressed dismay at my linkage, must surely agree with this too. Otherwise they wouldn’t care what a guy who voted twice for Ralph Nader has to say about anything in the first place.

Oliver Kamm sticks up for Norman Geras, too:

I'm not a Marxist, but a militant liberal. I believe that capitalism may be cyclically unstable, but capitalism with the operation of automatic stabilisers (fiscal and monetary policy) and a welfare state (at least of the type that provides benefits in cash rather than in kind, that discourages dependency and that promotes autonomy) is a powerful vehicle of social advance and an essential part of a free society. But there is no more important political question than the defence of the values of an open society against those in every age - secular totalitarians, theocratic terrorists, Baathist tyrants - who subvert and threaten them. An ethically grounded Marxism ought to be a natural part of the coalition that mounts that campaign, and that's why I'm less surprised than others that Norman Geras stands where he does.
We all need diversity of opinion. I link to Normblog for a reason. Give him a chance and, even if you’re a conservative, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 13, 2003 6:54 PM
Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn