Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leszek Kolakowski

Tributes for right-wing anti-communist polemicist, Leszek Kolakowski are pouring in. The tributes are uniformly referring to him as this great thinker and even "philosopher." But if you read the works of the man, he did not write like a political thinker or even a conservative philosopher. He was a polemicist against communists, and sometimes he would be vulgar in his attacks. Go back and read his main work, Main Currents of Marxism: the value--if there is a value--of the book is political and not philosophical or academic, just as Khumayni's writings were political and not theological. In writing about Lenin, Marcuse, Adorno, or Mao, Kolkowski often merely sneers and mocks and ridicules. He insisted that the lousy regimes of Eastern Europe were extensions or "interpretation" of Marxism (see Main Currents of Marxism: The Breakdown (vol 3), p. 526. And those who believed in socialism in the 20th century, are dimissed by this hack as no more than "New Left adolescents" (p. 528). So much for the philisophy of of Kolakowski. Look how Kolakowski, for example, argues against Herbert Marcuse: "Not only is Marcuse wrong in proclaiming a logical link between positivism and totalitarian politics, but his assertion of a historical link is currently contrary to facts."(p. 401). The crime of Marcuse of course is that he was critical of both "Soviet Marxism" and modern capitalism. It was not enough to criticize Soviet-dominated systems: you need to express unconditional admiration for capitalism in all its forms, and for Western wars and injustices.