The sorrows of the Left Archives

April 2, 2011

Clairvoyant urgently needed

We've seen of late a familiar type of argument unfold, at the usual insufferable length, on some of my Lefty mailing lists, about the topic of Uncle's intentions in Libya. Sample:

> The uprising provided a great 
> opportunity to establish a regime more favorable 
> to their interests.

So why is the U.S. pulling out of the bombing campaign 
and refusing to arm the rebels?
It's all so perplexing!

But the comrades, or many of them, seem to feel that they must have answers. They must know, in effect, who said what at meetings they weren't invited to; and they must know it on the basis of a close reading of the Grundrisse and The Forty-Five(*).

Whence this compulsion? Is it some confusion with, or envy of, natural science, among people who mostly don't do natural science and thus overestimate its capacity for explaining things? You'd think Marxism stood or fell on whether or not Doug Henwood's or Louis Proyect's mailing list could collectively figure out what they're thinking in the White House this week, and why it's different from last week.

Why isn't the big picture enough? We know what the empire does, as a general matter, and why it does it, out to a couple of decimal places. We know that we're agin' it, and we know why, and we know enough to persuade other people, from time to time, to be agin' it too. Doesn't that suffice?


(*) Volumes of Lenin's collected works, for those from a different faith tradition than my own.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the The sorrows of the Left category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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