Dead Men Left

Monday, December 05, 2005

Unwanted Christmas presents

Very grateful for two bloggers who've saved me a bit of cash, and the guarrantee of a wasted and irritable afternoon, by reviewing two books I'd wanted to buy only so I could have some justification for my belief that they both make the world a marginally less happy place to be in.

First up, D-Squared on Freakanomics. It's a savage mauling, ears bitten off, fur flying, etc, so hurrah for that. Second, Stumbling and Mumbling on Oliver Kamm's Anti-totalitarianism: The Left-Wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy, from which:

I found all this deeply disappointing. As a liberal lefty with no strong view on the war, I was prepared to be persuaded. Kamm not only fails to do this, but actually weakens the case – and not merely by contaminating it by racism.

(NB: Stumbling and Mumbling is a great blog, but my goodness it isn't half irritating when people write "Leninism" when they mean "Stalinism"... oh, it may sound petty to you, but the absence of Lenin's really decisive theoretical contribution - that the unevenness of class consciousness necessitates separate political organisation - from S&M's list of terrible Marxist sins, all of which have more to do with Kautsky, Stalin and the Fabian tradition than any revolutionary thinking - is annoying.)

The near-interminable books-what-I-have-read lists that minor celebrities and Top Public Intellectuals (TM) are invited to contribute to are currently cluttering up many a weekend supplement. Think of the above as a kind of antidote.