Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'progressive'

People Came to This Country for Either Money or Freedom – “Freedom: A Novel”, Jonathan Franzen

October 27th, 2012 · Comments Off on People Came to This Country for Either Money or Freedom – “Freedom: A Novel”, Jonathan Franzen · Campaigning, Politics, US Politics, USA

People came to this country for either money or freedom. If you don’t have money, you cling to your freedoms all the more angrily. Even if smoking kills you, even if you can’t afford to feed your kids, even if your kids are getting shot down by maniacs with assault rifles. You may be poor, […]

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After 50 years of Socialism… “Maximum City” – Suketu Mehta

March 25th, 2012 · Comments Off on After 50 years of Socialism… “Maximum City” – Suketu Mehta · Ideology, India, Progressive Politics, Socialism

In the post-Marxist age, we can no longer believe that redistribution solves anything, that making the rich poorer will make the poor richer. It is the death not just of ideology but of ideas. Nothing in the national debate has nay strong conviction. On the right, a vague belief in foreign investment; on the left, […]

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Autarky might be hip, but it’s economically disastrous – “Reflections on Gandhi” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on Autarky might be hip, but it’s economically disastrous – “Reflections on Gandhi” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Autarky, Economics, India, Policy, Politics, Progressive Politics

I remember reading its opening chapters in the ill-printed pages of some Indian newspaper. They made a good impression on me, which Gandhi himself at that time did not. The things that one associated with him—home-spun cloth, “soul forces” and vegetarianism—were unappealing, and his medievalist program was obviously not viable in a backward, starving, over-populated […]

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The Complex Moral Calculus of Politics from “Writers and Leviathan” in “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Complex Moral Calculus of Politics from “Writers and Leviathan” in “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Complexity, Economics, Ideology, Means and Ends, Morality, Politics, Progressive Politics, Writing

We feel this dilemma to be a painful one, because we see the need of engaging in politics while also seeing what a dirty, degrading business it is. And most of us still have a lingering belief that every choice, even every political choice, is between good and evil, and that if a thing is […]

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The Misguided Perfectionism of The Left from “Writers and Leviathan” in “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 14th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Misguided Perfectionism of The Left from “Writers and Leviathan” in “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Economics, Ideology, Policy, Politics, Progressive Politics, Writing

The whole left-wing ideology, scientific and Utopian, was evolved by people who had no immediate prospect of attaining power. It was, therefore, an extremist ideology, utterly contemptuous of kings, governments, laws, prisons, police forces, armies, flags, frontiers, patriotism, religion, conventional morality, and, in fact, the whole existing scheme of things. Until well within living memory […]

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“Prevention of Literature” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 13th, 2011 · Comments Off on “Prevention of Literature” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Economics, Ideology, Political Communication, Politics, Progressive Politics, Writing

Political writing in our time consists almost entirely of prefabricated phrases bolted together like the pieces of a child’s Meccano set. It is the unavoidable result of self-censorship. To write in plain, vigorous language one has to think fearlessly, and if one thinks fearlessly one cannot be politically orthodox.

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The Futility of Searching for Perfection in Politics – “Arthur Koestler” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 10th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Futility of Searching for Perfection in Politics – “Arthur Koestler” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Communism, Economics, Extremism, Ideology, Policy, Politics, Progressive Politics, Socialism

Perhaps, however, whether desirable or not, it isn’t possible. Perhaps some degree of suffering is ineradicable from human life, perhaps the choice before man is always a choice of evils, perhaps even the aim of Socialism is not to make the world perfect but to make it better. Orwell was a consistent advocate of incrementalism…

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The Ugliness of Left Wing Women? – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 10th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Ugliness of Left Wing Women? – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Communism, Economics, History, Politics, Progressive Politics, Quotes, WW2

Those who struggle against society are, on the whole, those who have reason to dislike it, and normal healthy people are no more attracted by violence and illegality than they are by war. The young Nazi in ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE makes the penetrating remark that one can see what is wrong with the left-wing movement […]

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The Mentality of the English Left Wing Intelligentsia – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 29th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Mentality of the English Left Wing Intelligentsia – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Australian Labor Party, Criticism, Culture, Economics, Political Communication, Politics, Progressive Politics, Socialism

The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have […]

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Fading from Red to Pink – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on Fading from Red to Pink – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Communism, Economics, Hypocrisy, Politics, Progressive Politics, UK Labour

In 1930 the English Communist Party was a tiny, barely legal organization whose main activity was libelling the Labour Party. But by 1935 the face of Europe had changed, and left-wing politics changed with it. Hitler had risen to power and begun to rearm, the Russian five-year plans had succeeded, Russia had reappeared as a […]

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