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Ideal Speech

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 19 November 1981

Hegel contra Sociology 
by Gillian Rose.
Athlone, 261 pp., £18, May 1981, 0 485 11214 0
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The Political Philosophy of the Frankfurt School 
by George Friedman.
Cornell, 312 pp., £9.50, February 1981, 9780801412790
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Metacritique 
by Garbis Kortian, translated by John Raffan.
Cambridge, 134 pp., £12.50, August 1980, 0 631 12779 8
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The Idea of a Critical Theory 
by Raymond Geuss.
Cambridge, 99 pp., £10, December 1981, 0 521 24072 7
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The Politics of Social Theory 
by Russell Keat.
Blackwell, 245 pp., £12.50, August 1981, 0 631 12779 8
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Critical Hermeneutics 
by John Thompson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £17.50, September 1981, 9780521239325
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Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences 
by Paul Ricoeur, translated by John Thompson.
Cambridge, 314 pp., £20, September 1981, 0 521 23497 2
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... this sociology has none of his predecessors’ sheer hatred for the bourgeoisie, none of what George Friedman sketchily and unlovingly illuminates of Marcuse’s frenzy or Adorno’s fastidiousness or Benjamin’s irony. It certainly has none of Max Weber’s tragedy. Its force lies in its striking deployment of the argument for collectively ...

Like a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

John Lloyd: Globalisation, 2 September 1999

The Lexus and the Olive Tree 
by Thomas Friedman.
HarperCollins, 394 pp., £19.99, May 1999, 0 00 257014 9
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Global Transformation 
by David Held and Anthony McGrew.
Polity, 515 pp., £59.50, March 1999, 0 7456 1498 1
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... Thomas Friedman is so much the kind of American that the rest of the world likes to despise that it’s a fair assumption he has, at least in part, adopted the pose consciously. He calls himself a ‘tourist with attitude’ and his attitude is that of the know-it-all, ‘wise up, you dumb cluck’ American journalist who is here to tell you your economy is blown, your politics stink and you haven’t a hope in hell of making it in today’s world ...

Achieving Disunity

Corey Robin, 25 October 2012

Age of Fracture 
by Daniel Rodgers.
Harvard, 360 pp., £14.95, September 2012, 978 0 674 06436 2
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... exchange. Like most scholars of the free-market movement, Rodgers assigns great weight to Milton Friedman, ‘the University of Chicago’s most forceful politiciser’, and the right’s answer to J.K. Galbraith. He wrote columns for Newsweek, advised presidents (and dictators), and organised the ten-part PBS series Free to Choose as a counter to ...

Let’s talk class again

Thomas Frank: Demons on the Left!, 21 March 2002

Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes how the Media Distort the News 
by Bernard Goldberg.
Regnery, 234 pp., $27.95, December 2001, 0 89526 190 1
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... and instructed the world in the timeless principles of the free market, as handed down by Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan and the prophets of Silicon Valley? If that’s what you think you will have overlooked the feature of American life that negates it all: TV news is insidiously slanted to the Left. The three broadcast TV networks, Bernard Goldberg tells ...

Nobody has to be vile

Slavoj Žižek: The Philanthropic Enemy, 6 April 2006

... can become Porto Davos. So who are these liberal communists? The usual suspects: Bill Gates and George Soros, the CEOs of Google, IBM, Intel, eBay, as well as court-philosophers like Thomas Friedman. The true conservatives today, they argue, are not only the old right, with its ridiculous belief in authority, order and ...

Against Responsibility

William Davies, 8 November 2018

Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism 
by Melinda Cooper.
Zone, 447 pp., £24, March 2017, 978 1 935408 84 0
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... transfers are something that politicians are reluctant to talk about, let alone criticise. It was George Osborne’s promise to cut inheritance tax in October 2007 that spooked Gordon Brown into cancelling a general election, triggering the revival of a Conservative opposition that had until then looked completely out of energy and ideas. The centrality of ...

We do not deserve these people

Anatol Lieven: America and its Army, 20 October 2005

The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War 
by Andrew Bacevich.
Oxford, 270 pp., £16.99, August 2005, 0 19 517338 4
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... contemptible and untrustworthy civilian society and political class. In the words of Thomas Friedman, the ostensibly liberal foreign affairs commentator of the ostensibly liberal New York Times, ‘we do not deserve these people. They are so much better than the country … they are fighting for.’ Such sentiments have a sinister pedigree in modern ...

Comedy is murder

Thomas Powers: Joseph Heller, 8 March 2012

Just One Catch: The Passionate Life of Joseph Heller 
by Tracy Daugherty.
Robson, 548 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 1 84954 172 5
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Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller was Dad and Life was a Catch-22 
by Erica Heller.
Vintage, 272 pp., £8.99, October 2011, 978 0 09 957008 0
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... words. The drift was this. He had been out in New York one afternoon with his friend the writer George Mandel, when a sudden commotion stirred the crowd near the entrance to a store. Two people – kids he sometimes thought – were rushing towards the street, one urging on the other, calling back over his shoulder, ‘Come on! Something happened.’ What ...

Flailing States

Pankaj Mishra: Anglo-America Loses its Grip, 16 July 2020

... societies in history still comes as a shock to some. In a widely circulated essay in the Atlantic, George Packer claimed that ‘every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state.’ In fact, the state has been AWOL for decades, and the market has been entrusted with the tasks most societies reserve ...

How to get on in the new Iraq

Carol Brightman: James Baker’s drop-the-debt tour, 4 March 2004

... two ways to look at the installation of James Baker, his father’s former secretary of state, in George W. Bush’s White House. Either the president has finally found a temporary assignment attractive enough to persuade his old retainer to come and rescue him from his Middle East hot seat. Or, as the new special envoy in charge of reducing Iraq’s $120 ...

The Ultimate Deal

Henry Siegman: The Two-State Solution, 29 March 2017

... not once, but on three separate occasions: at the request of Reagan and his secretary of state, George Shultz, in 1988; in 1993, in the context of the Oslo Accords; and again in Gaza in 1998, with Bill Clinton in attendance. Trump is probably also unaware that Netanyahu’s government has never recognised the Palestinian right to national self-determination ...

Overtaken by Events

Avi Shlaim, 30 November 1995

Intimate Enemies: Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land 
by Meron Benvenisti.
California, 260 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 520 08567 1
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... pieces in the independent Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz. In the Foreword to this book Thomas Friedman, who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting from the Middle East, describes Benvenisti as ‘an oasis of knowledge in the intellectual deserts of the Middle East – deserts where charlatans and ideologues, hucksters and holymen, regularly opine and ...
Modernity and Identity 
edited by Scott Lash and Jonathan Friedman.
Blackwell, 448 pp., £45, January 1992, 0 631 17585 7
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Fundamentalisms Observed 
edited by Martin Marty and Scott Appleby.
Chicago, 872 pp., $40, November 1991, 0 226 50877 3
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The Post-Modern and the Post-Industrial 
by Margaret Rose.
Cambridge, 317 pp., £35, July 1991, 0 521 40131 3
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Under God: Religion and American Politics 
by Garry Wills.
Simon and Schuster, 445 pp., £17.99, February 1992, 0 671 65705 4
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... connotes Medievalism.’ But theological modernists, like the English Catholic George Tyrrell, saw Medievalism as incompatible with modernity and banished it to the Middle Ages where it took on the static quality usually reserved for antiquity. ‘Medievalism,’ Tyrrell suggested, ‘is an absolute, Modernism a relative term. The former ...

Gentlemen and Intellectuals

Ian Gilmour, 17 October 1985

Balfour: Intellectual Statesman 
by Ruddock Mackay.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 212245 2
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Austen Chamberlain: Gentleman in Politics 
by David Dutton.
Ross Anderson Publications, 373 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86360 018 2
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... years as Chief Secretary to Ireland, five to the Balfour Declaration, and ignores altogether Lloyd George’s proposal for coalition and the Conservative-Liberal talks in 1910. In his scholarly, sensible and rather dry book Mr Mackay does have new things to say on such matters as the Committee of Imperial Defence, but the danger of his approach – quite apart ...

The point of it all

Asa Briggs, 25 April 1991

The Pencil: A History 
by Henry Petroski.
Faber, 434 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 571 16182 0
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... in its fullest sense is the idea conveyed in the respective words Paper, Pen and Ink?’ asked George Wilson, a future Regius Professor of Technology at Edinburgh University. The subtitle of his article, ‘Paper, Pen and Ink’, published in Macmillans Magazine in 1859, was ‘an excursus in technology’, and he went on to survey all kinds of pens ...

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