This week’s ranters: Stuart and Dave are communists with a book habit. They blog at From Despair To Where .
A rant… against rant
Who doesn’t love a good rant? We certainly do. Indeed, as a socialist, almost the first thing you will have to learn is the art of the rant. And, in our founding father, we have a superb role model. Just take a look at the old boy tearing into Jeremy Bentham in Section Five of this chapter of Capital.
In fact, this rant was so good we were going to nick it for the start of this one. Because if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re looking for a modern example of arch-philistines strutting about in a self-satisfied way with their list of homespun commonplaces, look no further than the so-called pro-war left. Not that the anti-war left is that much better. In fact, the whole debate between the anti-war left and the pro-war left only offers us the depressing prospect of choosing between Bush and Blair, or the Iraqi Resistance. Our advice is that if a polemicist offers you two options, you should always choose the third. (Click here and scroll down for a review that makes more or less this point.)
We could rant on and on about this, and we did plan to. But then we read an exchange between anti-war author Ken Macleod and pro-war lefty academic Norman Geras. Ken Macleod’s piece is the best contribution to the debate we have read. But — and here’s our point — it was the best because it wasn’t a rant. Geras’s replies were, in their own way, equally impressive.
People don’t move closer to a ranter’s position. They edge nervously towards the door. If this was just about slipping away quietly from bores like Hitchens and Galloway, then it wouldn’t matter. But we can’t afford to leave the debate to them, as it gives rise to the (already very strong) impression that politics is for weirdos and nutters. As Foucault points out , a search for truth — a whole morality — is at stake.
So, comrades, friends, and fellow bloggers, let’s do our best to give up the rant. It’s beneath us and the issues are too important. And if you disagree, then please do put your pointless ravings and ill-informed opinions in the comments box below.