A Marxist lesson for terrorists 4

July 22, 2005

Terry Eagleton presents, unargued, the Marxist position that law is not an abstract and impartial system of justice but is based on class or self-interest and, therefore, ultimately on violence. Tragically, he does not appear to realise how thoroughly this lesson has been taught to the terrorist. If law and order are themselves merely force, then the terrorist with his bombs is a more direct form of justice and morally more honest than the system that tries to suppress him. Marxism may have receded as a world system but it is still potent as an intellectual justification for anarchy.

Michael Polanyi has pointed to the dangers posed by the "homelessness" of human moral passions in a world cut off from religion and its moral guidance. It is not surprising that impressionable young people fall under the spell of radical philosophies, apparently available in Islam, that appear to offer a direct and violent solution to the moral perplexities of the young. Thus it is that the "nice ordinary guy" becomes a suicidal bomber: the normal disaffections of youth are grossly augmented by " weltanschauung ".

Eagleton's views represent the complacency of the cultural theorist who, despite a fashionable anti-Americanism, believes that he is safe in a strong Western culture (largely US-guaranteed) - yet his opinions do their utmost to undermine it.

Nigel Probert


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