THE OPIUM OF THE INTELLECTUALS by Raymond Aron

THE OPIUM OF THE INTELLECTUALS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of The Century of Total War (1954) issues another challenge to world thinking in this timely dissection of current political divisions. As a French journalist, his comments on the politico-philosophical scenes of East and West are within the frame of reference generally of western Europe and France in particular. He shows that the relatively new allegiance of the Intelligentsia to the Left is born of three myths: the Right as traditionally the voice of reaction, the efficacy of the Revolution, and the Proletariat as the new savior class. He demonstrates the development of these myths is the result of visionary, idealistic thinking, solidified in nostalgic hindsight. Aiding and abetting the construction of the myths has been a particular interpretation of history, borrowed from the Churchmen and developed by Hegel- the idea of a Plan of History, which was best put to use by Marxists applying the idea as a rationalization of their political and economic policies. The choice, from the swing of events, open to the intellectuals, lies between -- on the one hand, conforming to and being smothered by a system which extols the State as the bearer of all values or, on the other hand maintaining a condition of alienation, in the long run an imperiled condition. It is to those who will have no fanatic commitment, the skeptics, that Aron turns for a re-direction of thought. A valuable book (not because it supplies another solution but because it asks the right questions) for those concerned with the modern development of political thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1957
Publisher: Doubleday