15 October 2007

The Marxist "Punk"

I don't usually have much time for Terry Eagleton, though I did appreciate his demolition job on Richard Dawkins's ridiculous The God Delusion. For the most part, however, Eagleton is one of a hopefully dying breed of obfuscatory lit-crits who helped turn muddled pedantry and sophism into an academic benchmark that did untold damage to the reasoning abilities of a generation of liberal arts and humanities undergrads.

Now that his brand of bafflegab is fading from fashion, Eagleton, naturally casting about for ways to sustain interest (and, more importantly, book sales), seems to have hit upon a winner by launching a feud with the family and heirs of Kingsley Amis. So far Martin Amis, Kingsley's son and an author of some renown in his own right (not a patch on his father, though, I think most would agree) has stayed largely above the fray, but other members of the Amis clan have weighed in, ensuring that this one should run for a while.

The fact that the Daily Mail, aka the Voice of Middle England, has dived into this brouhaha with such alacrity (three articles in less than a week) should indicate that Eagleton's strategy is working, though it's hard to imagine most readers accustomed to the punchy and pithy (well, short, anyway) sentences of the Mail would react to the tortuous and opaque prose favored by Eagleton.

And for all the invective Eagleton has hurled at Amis père and fils, it seems as though no response would be necessary beyond pointing out that Eagleton is a self-described Marxist. Doesn't his subscription to such a completely discredited ideology pretty much negate any credentials, academic, intellectual or moral, he may have acquired along the way? It's like an astrophysicist expecting to be taken seriously after informing us he's a member of the Flat Earth Society, or a human rights activist who's still touting the virtues of National Socialism.


South Side Red said...

Wow, the millionaire doesn't like Marxism. Stop the presses.

Also, I'd enjoy seeing Richard Dawkins intellectually dismantle you with a single flex of his frontal lobe, but he'd never bother.

Larry Livermore said...

Actually, it's the poor, not the rich who suffer most under Marxism, fascism, socialism, Islamism, and all similar pie-in-the-sky totalitarian ideologies. Like the 20 million or more peasants who perished in Stalin's attempts to shoehorn them into his crackpot schemes, or the 50 to 70 million Chinese who met a similar fate under Mao. Hitler was practically an amateur alongside these guys.

As for Dawkins, his degrees and academic cachet notwithstanding, he's the equivalent of a stroppy 16 year old who delights in shocking his parents and the bourgeoisie by denouncing God and religion. Legions of punk rockers have been pulling the same stunt for decades, albeit minus all the polysyllabics (no, wait, Bad Religion probably matched or outdid Dawkins in that department).

Anyway, Marxist Terry Eagleton agrees with me that Dawkins' The God Delusion is a load of simplistic piffle. You can file this under "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day" or you can have an intellectual meltdown trying to decide which of your own crackpot ideologies, Marxism or atheism, will have to play second fiddle here.

DK said...

Larry, do you have anything to back your dismissal of atheism beyond "I believe in God, so you must be wrong?" Granted, it's your blog so you can issue as many backhands as you like, but they are frustrating when delivered by someone smart enough to know better.

Larry Livermore said...

I don't have any problem with people either believing or not believing in God. In many cases, it's merely a matter of semantics anyway, i.e., the name we choose to give to that which is beyond our power to comprehend.

I take issue with atheism because, as I've written before, it strikes me as a fundamentalist ideology, very much like hardcore Christianity or Islam, in which the believer "knows" with unswerving certitude that not only is his/her view of the cosmos correct, but also that anyone who doubts it is an imbecile and/or bound for perdition.

See Richard Dawkins as a prime example: when he's not fluffing his own feathers with pride at having seen through the God "delusion," he's scathingly dismissing the views of anyone who dares to see things a bit differently. In reality, Dawkins can no more prove the non-existence of God than a devout theist can prove the converse. Which makes him just as much a self-obsessed crackpot as Pat Robertson or Osama bin Laden.