Thursday, 27 December 2007

My book of the year

Is Black Mass by John Gray.
For a long time I wondered whether John Gray is a Liberal or not. At the last general election he voted Liberal Democrat, but his views do not fit in easily into the political spectrum and I am not clear at all about how he will vote next time.
His independence from party political allegience gives him the interlectual freedom to go where he likes. For a long time I thought he may be a Conservative, in the past he really was one. Yet his critique of neo-liberalism - which he puts in the same camp of Naziism and Communism is a devestating one and it is hard to imagine he will be conservative again. However what I had in mind was a pre-Thatcherite Conservative attachment to sceptisim, which is something you can still ascribe to him.
Well there is a lot of ifs and buts, but in the end, I will judge from his own admiration of Isiah Berlin and JM Keynes, and my own political bias and call him a Liberal.
Black Mass reveals so much what is missing from contemporary political debate. On foreign policy no one is debating the decline of US and EU power, and the increase in power of China and Russia. It is assumed that the Liberal agenda can still be realised by the Eu and US working together, but even the US is rejecting Liberal values, notably over the use of detention without trial and torture. China and Russia do not believe in Liberal values to begin with of course.
That in itself is only a very small part of the arguments that spring to mind when reading this book.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

He's no liberal, he's a pessimist. He sides against whatever is currently in vogue because it must all end in disaster (so he thinks).

As for neo-liberalism - what is this beast? The left attack it, but never quite say what it is.