Monday, June 19, 2006

If You're Feeling Smart

There is a must-read interview with Paul Berman (very, very, very, smart guy).


At 1:24 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

I am only just now feeling smart (and unable to sleep). I look forward to boring you silly with my inane commentary in the morning.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Well, "feeling" smart aside, I didn't feel very smart by the end of that article. What a brain.

When I read this I flattered myself with the notion that, in some tiny, tiny way, these are the sorts of ideals I'm expounding:

I always thought of the New Left as an anti-authoritarian movement.... There was something of a 'high culture' spirit among the Anarchists. They took writing and literature seriously and this, too, was attractive to me. And from still another point of view there was a certain reasonableness to them, believe it or not. Some of those old militants were pretty extreme - there was a fairly wild group of Italians, among others. And yet, a good many of those people were affiliated in one way or another with the old social democrats in New York. The Jewish anarchist newspaper was supported by the garment workers union - my grandfather's union, the old social democrats of the labour movement. Those old anarchists were not as cut off from the institutions and spirit of American liberalism as you might imagine. All that was attractive and it gave me a good education and a spirit of independence.

Call me an anarchist, I guess.

I also took from them an example of how someone could be genuinely independent and indifferent to the opinions of the great majority. The old Anarchists in New York were brave. Anti-Castro on one hand, and opposed to the gangsters in their own unions on the other hand. They were indifferent to the rest of the left – really, to everybody: faithful only to their own judgments and opinions – and I found this really inspiring. I learnt a habit of independence of mind, or I like to think that I did


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