Friday, August 7, 2015

Raymond Aron ~ Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals

“J.P. Sartre has condemned the intervention in Hungary, but he continues to see no other road to salvation but that of Socialism: this monster all spattered in blood is none the less Socialism.” ~ Raymond Aron in The Opium of the Intellectuals

Here is excerpt from a good article describing Aron's life and work:

Immediately following World War II, Paris and the rest of Western Europe was awash in intellectuals enamored with Marxism. Political scientists, economists, sociologists, and philosophers were taken with the idea that the seminal event of modernity, the event that would finally end history, had occurred in Russia in 1917. It was inevitable: the Bolsheviks had established the first Marxist state and the modern and industrializing nations of the world must soon follow suit. Among this widespread intellectual adoration of the Marxist experiment was where French scholar, university professor, and newspaper editor Raymond Aron found himself after the end of World War II. France had finally been liberated, but not, it seemed, from Marxist thought.

Aron was a rising star among the Parisian intellectuals and was no stranger to debates over Marx. Graduating top of his class from the prestigious L’Ecole Normale SupĂ©rieure, he had been surrounded by and steeped in Marxist thought which had become popular throughout the academic world. Aron respected Marx for his understanding of certain elements of industrial society and economics, but he could never bring himself to believe in what he called Marx’s “catastrophic optimism” about mankind’s socialist future. Throughout his life, he continued to hold Marx and his followers directly responsible for the brutality and oppression of communist regimes. Only liberalism, he would argue often and convincingly, would save mankind from the tyranny of communism, and he was deadly serious when he wrote, “the survival of hope depends upon the victory of the liberal communities.”

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