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For the hell of it

Terry Eagleton: Norberto Bobbio, 22 February 2001

In Praise of Meekness: Essays on Ethics and Politics 
by Norberto Bobbio, translated by Teresa Chataway.
Polity, 186 pp., £50, October 2000, 0 7456 2309 3
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... The political Left has always had trouble with ethics, in theory as well as in practice. The practical problems hardly need recounting. It was one of the great tragedies of the 20th century that socialism proved least possible where it was most necessary. A vision of human emancipation which presupposed for its success all the precious fruits of modernity – material wealth, liberal traditions, a flourishing civic society, an educated populace – became instead the guiding light by which wretchedly impoverished nations bereft of such benefits sought to throw off their chains ...

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