Notes to “The Truth of Liberalism”


[1] “[T]he crisis of bourgeois society in capital after the Industrial Revolution and the failure of the ‘social republic’ in 1848, was the crisis of bourgeois society as liberal…a feature of the growing authoritarianism of bourgeois society, or, the failure of liberalism. As such, socialism needed to take up the problems of bourgeois society in capital that liberalism had failed to anticipate or adequately meet, or, to take up the cause of liberalism that bourgeois politics had dropped in the post-1848 world.” Cutrone, Chris. “Lenin’s Liberalism.” Platypus Review. (№ 36. July, 2011). Pg. 2.
[2] Marx, Karl. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Translated by Clemens Dutt, Rodney Livingstone, and Christopher Upward. Collected Works, Volume 11: August 1851-March 1853. (Lawrence & Wishart Publishing. London, England: 1979). Pg. 103.
[3] Marx, Karl. The Class Struggles in France: 1848-1850. Translated by Hugh Rodwell. Collected Works, Volume 10: September 1849-June 1851. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1978). Pg. 67.
[4] “In sum, the project of modernity has not yet been fulfilled.” Habermas, Jürgen. “Modernity — An Incomplete Project.” Translated by Seyla Benhabib. The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, edited by Hal Foster. (Bay Press. Seattle, WA: 1983). Pg. 13.
[5] Tocqueville, Alexis de. The Ancien Régime and the French Revolution. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2011). Pg. 2. Quoted in full by Losurdo, Domenico. Liberalism: A Counter-History. Translated by Gregory Elliott. (Verso Books. Brooklyn, NY: 2011). Pg. vii. Indeed, Losurdo’s choice to pattern his own study after that of de Tocqueville is no accident, as the great French liberal is one of the figures most harshly indicted in his study.
[6] The famous Tolstoian technique of ostranenie [остранение]. Shklovskii, Viktor. “Iskusstvo kak priem.” From Gamburgskii schet: Stat’i, vospominaniia, esse (1914-1933). (Sovetskii pisatel’. Moscow, Soviet Union: 1990). Pgs. 64-66.
[7] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pgs. 1-7, 27, 106, 241-246.
[8] On Calhoun: ibid., pgs. 1-7, 57, 163, 222; on Locke: ibid., pgs. 3, 42, 163; on Mill: ibid., pgs. 7, 202, 225.
[9] Ibid., pg. 301.
[10] Ibid., pg. 25. On liberalism’s “exclusion clauses,” see also pgs. 124, 163, 173, 181, 248, 341-343. On the “pathos of liberty,” see also pgs. 23, 40, 45, 49, 56.
[11] “The catastrophic crisis that struck Europe and the whole planet with the outbreak of the First World War was already maturing within the liberal world.” Ibid., pg. 323. And further: “[I]t is banally ideological to characterize the catastrophe of the twentieth century as a kind of new barbarian invasion that unexpectedly attacked and overwhelmed a healthy, happy society. The horror of the twentieth century casts a shadow over the liberal world even if we ignore the fate reserved for peoples of colonial origin.” Ibid., pg. 340.
[12] On enclosure: Ibid., pgs. 77-78, 121, 303, 308, 319.
[13] “[A]bsent from ancient Greece was the racial chattel slavery which, in the American case, was conjoined not with direct democracy but representative democracy.” Ibid., pg. 106.
[14] Ibid., pgs. 30-33.
[15] Grotius and Holland: Ibid., pg. 21; Locke and England: Ibid., pg. 24; the Founding Fathers and the United States: Ibid., pgs. 25-26.
[16] Ibid., pg. 77.
[17] While their account of capitalism is often uneven, this formulation does not altogether miss the mark: “At the heart of Capital, Marx points to the encounter of two ‘principal’ elements: on one side, the deterritorialized worker who has become free and naked, having to sell his labor capacity; and on the other, decoded money that has become capital and is capable of buying it…For the free worker: the deterritorialization of the soil through privatization; the decoding of the instruments of production through appropriation.” Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Volume 1: Anti-Œdipus. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. (University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis, MN: 1983). Pg. 225.
[18] Besides Marx’s characterization of this process as such, this is how it was referred to by one of Losurdo’s principal sources on the subject. Harris, R.W. England in the Eighteenth Century, 1689-1793: A Balanced Constitution and New Horizons. (Blandford Press. London, England: 1963). Pgs. 14-18.
[19] Marx, for example: “The immediate producer, the worker, could dispose of his own person only after he had ceased to be bound to the soil, and ceased to be the slave or serf of another person. To become a free seller of labor-power, who carries his commodity wherever he can find a market for it, he must further have escaped from the regime of the guilds, their rules for apprentices and journeymen, and their restrictive labour regulations. Hence the historical movement which changes the producers into wage-laborers appears, on the one hand, as their emancipation from serfdom and from the fetters of the guilds, and it is this aspect of the movement which alone exists for our bourgeois historians. But, on the other hand, these newly freed men became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production, and all the guarantees of existence afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And this history, the history of their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire.” Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1. Translated by Ben Fowkes. (Penguin Books. New York, NY: 1982). Pg. 875.
[20] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pgs. 90-92.
[21] For a more comprehensive gloss on British and French materialist thought, see Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich. The Holy Family, Or Critique of Critical Criticism: Against Bruno Bauer and Company. Translated by Richard Dixon and Clemens Dutt. Collected Works, Volume 4: 1844-1845. Pgs. 127-134.
[22] “[In England, t]he heaviest, worst-paid work was entrusted to a stratum that tended to be reproduced from one generation to the next, and hence to a kind of hereditary servile caste.” Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 113. And further: “[O]ften excluded from the enjoyment of civil rights and negative liberty in England itself, the popular classes, by de Tocqueville’s [own] admission, continued to be separated from the upper class or caste by a gulf that calls to mind the one obtaining in a racial state.” Ibid., pg. 124.
[23] “While in London the zone of civilization was distinguished from the zone of barbarism, the sacred space from the profane, primarily by opposing the metropolis to the colonies, the American colonists were led to identify the boundary line principally in ethnic identity and skin color.” Ibid., pg. 50.
[24] “[Liberalism] excluded the non-European peoples from the sacred space of civilization, relegating much of the West to its margins.” Ibid., pg. 246.
[25] Losurdo, Domenico. Heidegger and the Ideology of War: Community, Death, and the West. Translated by Marella Morris and Jon Morris. (Humanity Books. Amherst, NY: 2001). Pgs. 14, 18, 24-27, 30, 37, 45, 47-48, 55, 57-59, 74, 76, 89-90, 119, 123-125, 141, 208, 214, 223-224.
[26] Kant, Immanuel. Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Translated by Robert B. Louden. Anthropology, History, and Education. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2007). Pg. 427.
[27] Ibid., pg. 299.
[28] “Unfounded on a historiographical level, the habitual hagiography [of liberalism] is also an insult to the memory of the victims..” Ibid., pg. 344.
[29] Ibid., pg. 311.
[30] Losurdo extends quite liberally upon the argument advanced by Léon Poliakov, asserting that Britain and American colonists understood themselves as the “chosen people” of the Old Testament. Ibid., pgs. 17, 19, 43-44, 63, 150, 229-230, 294, 306, 309-311. Elsewhere he traces this exclusivist mentality to another Jewish source: Martin Buber’s and Franz Rosenzweig’s idea of a “blood-community” [Blutgemeinschaft]. Losurdo, Heidegger and the Ideology of War. Pgs. 123-125, 214.
[31] Losurdo, Domenico. “Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt.” Translated by Charles Reitz. Nature, Society, and Thought. (Vol. 13, № 4. December 2000). Pgs. 478-479.
[32] Losurdo, Domenico. “What is Fundamentalism?” Translated by Hanne Gidora. Nature, Society, and Thought. (Vol. 17, № 1. March 2004). Pgs. 34, 40-41.
[33] Leonard, Spencer. “The Decline of the Left in the Twentieth Century: 2001.” The Platypus Review. (№ 17. November 18th, 2009). Pg. 2.
[34] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pgs. 54, 106, 220.
[35] Ibid., pgs. 19-20, 171, 229, 309, 311.
[36] Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Talcott Parsons. (Routledge. New York, NY: 1991). Pg. 98.
[37] “The degree of continuity between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has not escaped a whole series of scholars who cannot be suspected of preconceived hostility to the liberal world. While she generously overlooked the North American republic (which had had the merit of offering her refuge), Hannah Arendt explained the genesis of twentieth-century totalitarianism commencing with the colonies of the British Empire. It was here that ‘a new form of government,’ ‘a more dangerous form of governing than despotism and arbitrariness’ saw the light of day, and where the temptation of ‘administrative massacres’ as an instrument for maintaining domination began to emerge. But especially interesting in this context is the fact that not a few US scholars, in order to explain the history of their country, have turned to the category of ‘master-race democracy’ or ‘Herrenvolk democracy,’ in an eloquent linguistic admixture of English and German, and a German that in several respects refers to the history of the Third Reich.” Losurdo, Liberalism. Pgs. 336-337.
[38] “[F]or his plan to build a German continental empire, Hitler had in mind the United States model, which he praised for its ‘extraordinary inner strength.’” Losurdo, Domenico. “Towards a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism.” Translated by Jon Morris and Marella Morris. Historical Materialism. (Volume 12, № 2. 2004). Pg. 47.
[39] “Rather than being one single book, The Origins of Totalitarianism consists in reality of two overlapping books which…fail to achieve any substantial unity…[Many have] noticed the disproportion between Arendt’s actual and thorough knowledge of the Third Reich, and her inaccurate understanding of the Soviet Union. In particular, they emphasized the difficulties in Arendt’s attempt to adapt the analysis of the Soviet Union (associated with the outbreak of the Cold War) to the analysis of the Third Reich (rooted in the years of the great coalition against fascism and Nazism).” Ibid., pg. 33.
[40] “Nazism and Bolshevism owe more to Pan-Germanism and Pan-Slavism (respectively) than to any other ideology or political movement.” Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism. Pg. 222. See also pg. 415.
[41] Losurdo repeats the theme of “master-race democracy” throughout: Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 102-107, 108, 122-125, 136-138, 150-151, 180, 219, 222, 225, 227, 229, 233, 240, 308, 317, 321.
[42] On Losurdo’s theme of the United States as a “Herrenvolk democracy,” see also Losurdo, “Towards a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism.” Pg. 50. See also Losurdo, Domenico. “Preemptive War, Americanism, and Anti-Americanism.” Translated by Jon Morris and Marella Morris. Metaphilosophy. Pgs. 369, 374-375, 380-381.
[43] “It is very difficult to find a critique of this ‘master-race democracy’ in liberal thinking, which is rather often the theoretical expression of this regime. Herrenvolk democracy is instead the privileged target of Lenin’s struggle. The revolutionary Russian leader stubbornly placed in evidence the macroscopic clauses of exclusion in liberal liberty at the expense of ‘red and black skins,’ as well as immigrants from ‘backward countries.’” Losurdo, Domenico. “Lenin and Herrenvolk Democracy.” Translated by Graeme Thomson. Lenin Reloaded: Toward a Politics of Truth. (Duke University Press. Durham, NC: 2007). Pg. 242.
[44] “[T]he young Marx declares the United States to be the ‘country of complete political emancipation’ and ‘the most perfect example of the modern state,’ one that ensures the dominion of the bourgeoisie without excluding a priori any social class from the benefits of political rights…Engels’s position is even more drastically pro-American.…As for the history of the Communist movement as such, the influence of Taylorism and Fordism upon Lenin and Gramsci is well known. In 1923, Nikolai Bukharin goes even further: ‘We need Marxism plus Americanism.’” Ibid., pgs. 366-367.
[45] “The international press is full of articles or attitudes committed to celebrating, or at least justifying, Israel: after all — they say — it is the only country in the Middle East in which the freedom of expression and association exist, in which there is a democratic regime operating. In this way a macroscopic detail is suppressed: government by law and democratic guarantees are valid only for the master race, while the Palestinians can have their lands expropriated, be arrested and imprisoned without process, tortured, killed, and, in any case under a regime of military occupation, have their human dignity humiliated and downtrodden daily.” Losurdo, “Lenin and HerrenvolkDemocracy.” Pg. 245. See also Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 180.
[46] Losurdo, “Preemptive War, Americanism, and Anti-Americanism.” Pg. 368.
[47] Losurdo, Liberalism. Pg. 338.
[48] Fitzpatrick, Matthew. “The Pre-History of the Holocaust? The Sonderweg and Historikerstreit Debates and the Abject Colonial Past.” Central European History. (№ 41. 2008). Pgs. 500-501.
[49] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter History. Pgs. 339-340.
[50] “Losurdo, “Towards a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism.” Pg. 26.
[51] “The rulers sought to shield the bourgeois world from the flood of naked violence, which now has broken over Europe…Previously only the poor and savages had been exposed to the untrammeled force of the capitalist elements.” Adorno, Theodor and Horkheimer, Max. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments. Translated by Edmund Jephcott. (Stanford University Press. Stanford, CA: 2002). Pg. 67.
[52] Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism. Pg. 15.
[53] Ibid., pg. 148.
[54] Luxemburg, Rosa. Reform and Revolution. Translated by Integer [pseudonym]. The Essential Rosa Luxemburg. (Haymarket Books. Chicago, IL: 2008). Pg. 87.
[55] Fitzpatrick, Sheila and Geyer, Michael. Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2009).
[56] “[The] arbitrariness of terror [in Russia] is not even limited by racial differentiation, while the old class categories have long-since been discarded, so that anybody in Russia may suddenly become a victim of the police terror.” Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism. Pg. 6.
[57] Losurdo, “Towards a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism.” Pgs. 32, 34-37, 52.
[58] In so doing, he argues, “the Left has accepted the basic coordinates of liberal democracy (‘democracy’ vs. ‘totalitarianism,’ etc.).” Žižek, Slavoj. Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions into the (Mis)use of a Notion. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2002). Pgs. 2-3.
[59] Losurdo, “Flight from History?” Pgs. 481-483.
[60] Ibid., pg. 484.
[61] Ibid., pgs. 479-480.
[62] Ibid., pg. 480.
[63] Losurdo, Domenico. “Marx, Columbus, and the October Revolution: Historical Materialism and the Analysis of Revolutions.” Translated by John Riser. Nature, Society, and Thought. (Vol. 9, № 1: 1996). Pgs. 80-81.
[64] Losurdo, “Flight from History?” Pg. 479.
[65] Ibid., pg. 496.
[66] Losurdo, Domenico. “History of the Communist Movement: Failure, Betrayal, or Learning Process?” Translated by Hanna Gidora. Nature, Society, and Thought. (Vol. 16, № 1: Jan 31, 2003). Pg. 41.
[67] Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Pg. 104.
[68] Luxemburg, Rosa. “The Junius Pamphlet: The Crisis of German Social-Democracy.” Translated by Dave Hollis. The Rosa Luxemburg Reader. (Monthly Review Press. New York, NY: 2004). Pg. 314.
[69] Losurdo, “Flight from History?” Pg. 459.
[70] Benjamin, Walter. “On the Concept of History.” Translated by Edmund Jephcott. Selected Writings, Volume 4: 1938-1940. (Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA: 2003). Pg. 392.
[71] Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement.” Pg. 33.
[72] Torres, Marco. “The dead Left: Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution.” The Platypus Review. (№ 25. July 9th, 2010). Pg. 2.
[73] Losurdo, “Marx, Columbus, and the October Revolution.” Pg. 66.
[74] Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by Paul Guyer and Allen Wood. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 1998). Pg. 354.
[75] Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement.” Pg. 55.
[76] Cutrone, Chris. “Vicissitudes of Historical Consciousness and Possibilities for Emancipatory Politics Today.” The Platypus Review. (№ 1: November 1st, 2007). Pg. 1.
[77] Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement.” Pg. 38.
[78] “[T]he contemporary discourse on ‘failure’ is grossly Eurocentric.” Ibid., pg. 37.
[79] Žižek, Slavoj. “A Leftist Plea for ‘Eurocentrism.’” Critical Inquiry. (Summer 1998). Pgs. 988, 1006.
[80] Losurdo, Domenico. “Moral Dilemmas and Broken Promises: A Historical View of the Non-Violent Movement.” Translated by Frank Gordon. Historical Materialism. (№ 18: Winter 2010). Pg. 88.
[81] Adorno, Theodor. “Progress.” Translated by Henry W. Pickford. Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords. (Columbia University Press. New York, NY: 2005). Pg. 150.
[82] Losurdo, “Marx, Columbus, and the October Revolution.” Pgs. 72-73.
[83] The “whirlwind” (instead of the cloud) being the GULag into which Evgeniia Ginzburg was flung after being accused of participation in a Trotskyist plot to assassinate Kirov. Ginzburg, Evgeniia. Within the Whirlwind. Translated by Ian Boland. (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. New York, NY: 1982). Pg. 235.
[84] “At the end of his political career Lenin several times called Russia’s institutional heritage ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘Asiatic.’ He noted that Russian society had ‘not yet emerged’ from its ‘semi-Asiatic’ lack of culture.” Wittfogel, Karl. Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power. (Yale University Press. New Haven, CT: 1963). Pg. 400. Losurdo explicitly criticizes Wittfogel: “[T]o use an approach similar to the one…proposed by Wittfogel would be misleading.” Losurdo, “Towards a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism.” Pg. 29.
[85] Losurdo, “Marx, Columbus, and the October Revolution.” Pg. 73.
[86] Ibid., pg. 82.
[87] “The country in which the Communists have gained power can be used, in the first place, as a base for extending the revolution to the highest levels of capitalist development. Or, recognizing the unfavorable relationship of strength at the international level, Communists may identify the main task as building, in the country in which power is obtained, the new social system called upon to replace capitalism. The first choice refers back to Trotsky; the second to Stalin. There is, however, a third choice: the more or less backward country in which the Communists have conquered power is committed, primarily, to the programmed development of the productive forces in order to bridge the gap with the advanced capitalist countries and proceed to the construction of socialism. This is the way chosen by the People’s Republic of China from 1978 onwards.” Losurdo, Domenico. “Marxism, Globalization, and the Historical Balance of Socialism.” Nature, Society, and Thought. (Vol. 13, № 3: 2000). Pgs. 339-340.
[88] Losurdo, “Flight from History?” Pg. 499.
[89] Ibid., pg. 496.
[90] Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement.” Pg. 45.
[91] “It is enlightening to look at the subaltern dependency of the Left especially with regard to the campaign that the U.S. administration has undertaken against the People’s Republic of China. A whole series of disclosures has recently shed new light on the events of Tiananmen Square. Banned students and intellectuals, who were exiled to the United States, are today criticizing the ‘radical’ exponents of the movement back then for seeking to impede reconciliation with officials in Beijing at any cost. Thus we see the real goal pursued by certain circles (in China and outside it) after the disturbances of 1989. This is made clear in an article in Foreign Affairs (a journal close to the State Department) where it is gleefully forecast that China will fall apart after the death of Deng Xiaoping.” Ibid., pg. 476.
[92] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 1.
[93] “A few months after Stalin’s death, Beria becomes isolated and is liquidated by a majority that includes, besides Khrushchev, Stalin’s closest collaborators. Against whom should the charges be directed in this case? Another point to ponder is the method of Beria’s liquidation: it is a Mafia-style reckoning, a brutal act that makes no reference either to law or the Party constitution.” Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement.” Pg. 42.
[94] Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. (Harcourt Publishers. New York, NY: 1976). On de Gobineau: pgs. 165, 170-175, 183, 330, 333. On Disraeli, “an English imperialist and a Jewish chauvinist”: Passim, pgs. 75-79, 83, 87, 175, 183, 190. On Rhodes’ imperialism and anti-semitism: Passim, pgs. 124-125, 132, 144, 200, 203, 211-212, 214-215, 316. On Chamberlain: Passim, pgs. 330, 333.
[95] On Calhoun’s racist defense of the master class: Losurdo, Liberalism. Pgs. 1-7, 54, 56-57, 61-64, 69-70, 72, 75, 102, 106, 111, 120, 139, 152-153, 156, 162-163, 176, 184, 202, 222, 224, 226, 308. On Mill’s colonial racism: Ibid., pgs. 3, 7, 179-180, 220, 225, 247-249, 267-268, 287-288, 318, 332. On Roosevelt’s racism toward Native Americans and others: Ibid., pgs. 220, 303, 327, 330-331.
[96] “I certainly, though a Liberal, [do] not subscribe to your party to assist in the one thing I hate above everything, namely, the policy of disintegrating and breaking up our empire.” Rhodes, Cecil. Last Will and Testament. (“Review of Reviews” Office. London, England: 1902). Pgs. 134-135.
[97] Losurdo, Liberalism. Pgs. 268-271.
[98] “[Calhoun’s] attempt…to conserve hierarchy against mass democracy…[makes] him a conservative.” Seymour, Richard. “Liberals and Reactionaries.” Leninology. (October 7th, 2011).
[99] “Some of the most damning passages and quotations that Losurdo uses to illustrate the dark history of liberalism are gathered from figures probably better categorized as conservative than as liberal — Calhoun, for example.” Rooksby, Ed. “Liberalism: An Ideology of Exclusion?” New Left Project. (November 21st, 2011).
[100] “[T]he inclusion of Calhoun in the liberal pantheon can’t help but raise some eyebrows.” Serpe, Nick. “Liberalism’s Exclusions and Expansions.” Jacobin. (№ 5. Winter 2011). Pg. 57.
[101] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 2.
[102] Losurdo, Heidegger and the Ideology of War. Pgs. 223-224.
[103] “A contemporary liberal might be tempted to be shot of the unmanageable presence within the tradition of thought he refers to of an author like Burke, who celebrated the particular intensity of the liberal spirit and love of liberty among slave-owners; or of an author like Calhoun, who in the nineteenth century still hymned the ‘positive good’ that was slavery. And so both…are officially included in the conservative party…[But] both Burke and Calhoun aimed to be vigilant guardians of the social relations and political institutions which emerged, respectively, from the Glorious Revolution and the American Revolution — two eminently liberal revolutions…Burke…was not a slave-owner [but] celebrated the ‘liberal spirit’ and ‘liberal’ emphasis of the slaveholding South…Calhoun…tirelessly reiterated his attachment to representative bodies and the principle of the limitation of power.” Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 62.
[104] “Through the same plan of a conformity to nature in our artificial institutions, and by calling in the aid of her unerring and powerful instincts, to fortify the fallible and feeble contrivances of our reason, we have derived several other, and those no small benefits, from considering our liberties in the light of an inheritance. Always acting as if in the presence of canonized forefathers, the spirit of freedom, leading in itself to misrule and excess, is tempered with an awful gravity. This idea of a liberal descent inspires us with a sense of habitual native dignity, which prevents that upstart insolence almost inevitably adhering to and disgracing those who are the first acquirers of any distinction. By this means our liberty becomes a noble freedom. It carries an imposing and majestic aspect. It has a pedigree and illustrating ancestors. It has its bearings and its ensigns armorial. It has its gallery of portraits; its monumental inscriptions; its records, evidences, and titles.” Burke, Edmund. Reflections on the Revolution in France. Selected Works, Volume 2. (Liberty Fund. Indianapolis, IN: 1999). Pgs. 122-123.
[105] Ibid., pg. 151.
[106] Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It. Pg. 116.
[107] “Calhoun, in brief, failed to appreciate the staying power of capitalism. At the very time when it was swinging into its period of most hectic growth he spoke as though it had already gone into decline.” Ibid., pg. 114. And further: “[T]he Calhoun dialectic was so starkly reactionary in its implications that it became self-defeating.” Ibid., pg. 116.
[108] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Passim, pgs. 92, 97-98, 104, 162, 215, 306, 327-328, 331.
[109] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 221.
[110] Ibid., pgs. 27-30.
[111] There is “an unresolved tension in Losurdo’s book that might lead us to question whether ‘liberalism’ and ‘radicalism’ can be so neatly separated.” Serpe, “Liberalism’s Exclusions and Expansions.” Pg. 58. “[In Losurdo’s account of] the relationship between liberalism and radicalism…[,] the separateness and distinctiveness of these two traditions is exaggerated.” Rooksby, “Liberalism: An Ideology of Exclusion?” “Losurdo’s necessarily inconclusive litmus tests prove nothing except that no one he labels liberal meets his test of moral or ideological purity. He does hive off the category of ‘radical,’ which seems to capture those who do pass the test: Condorcet, supporters of the Haitian revolution, Simón Bolívar, and other Latin Americans committed to the political equality of all races.” Pitts, Jennifer. “Free for All.” Times Literary Supplement. (September 23rd, 2011). Pg. 9.
[112] Seymour, “Liberals and Reactionaries.”
[113] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 180.
[114] Ibid., pg. 168. “Jacobinism is in my interpretation a form of radicalism, because they appealed not only to the liberation of the slaves ‘from above,’ but struggled together with the slaves in order to overthrow slavery.” Losurdo, Domenico. “Liberalism and Marx: An Interview with Domenico Losurdo.” The Platypus Review. (№ 46. May 1st, 2012). Pg. 3.
[115] Ibid., pg. 164.
[116] Ibid., pgs. 168, 311, 314-315.
[117] “[European] explorers arrive in a region of the New World unoccupied by anyone from the Old World, and immediately bury a small strip of metal on which they have engraved these words: This country belongs to us. And why does it belong to you? Are you as unjust and stupid as some primitive men who are accidentally carried to your shores, where they write on the sand or on the bark of your trees: This country is ours? You have no right to the natural products of the country where you land, and you claim a right over your fellow men. Instead of recognizing this man as a brother, you only see him as a slave, a beast of burden…This reproach should especially be addressed to the Spaniards.” Diderot, Denis. Histoire des Deux Indes. Translated by John Hope Mason and Robert Wokler. Political Writings. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2001). Pgs. 176-177.
[118] “Much more so than Bentham, it was Kant who came close to radicalism.” Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 178.
[119] Kant, Immanuel. Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch. Translated by Hans Siegbert Reiss. Political Writings. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 1991). Pg. 114.
[120] “[T]he following maxims…can be made unalterable commands: 1. To think for oneself; 2. To think oneself (in communication with human beings) into the place of every other person…The first principle is negative (nullius addictus iurare in verba Magistri) the principle of freedom from constraint; the second is positive, the principle of liberals who adapt to the principles of others…” Kant, Immanuel. Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Translated by Robert B. Louden. Anthropology, History, and Education. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2007). Pgs. 332-333.
[121] Kant, Immanuel. “Of the Different Races of Human Beings.” Translated by Holly Wilson and Günther Zöller. Anthropology, History, and Education. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2007).
[122] Losurdo, Domenico. Hegel and the Freedom of Moderns. Translated by Jon and Marella Morris. (Duke University Press. Durham, NC: 2004). Pg. 124.
[123] Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1. Pg. 103.
[124] “Whoever placed the emphasis on the Hegelian system could be fairly conservative…Whoever regarded the dialectical method as the main thing could belong to the most extreme opposition…Hegel himself …seemed on the whole to be more inclined to the conservative side.” Engels, Friedrich. Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy. Translated by K.M. Cook. Collected Works, Volume 26: 1882-1889. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1991). Pg. 363.
[125] “[I]n Berne[,] Hegel dissociated himself from the radical and plebeian wing of the French Revolution.” Lukács, Georg. The Young Hegel: Studies in the Relation between Dialectics and Economics. Translated by Rodney Livingstone. (Merlin Press. London, England: 1973). Pg. 134.
[126] “Hegel does not hesitate to extol the French Revolution as a social revolution…[T]his…provides further proof against Lukács’ position: plebeian motifs are indeed present in Hegel.” Losurdo, Hegel and the Freedom of Moderns. Pg. 145.
[127] Marx, Karl. “The Bourgeoisie and the Counter-Revolution.” Translated by Salo Ryazanskaya. Collected Works, Volume 8: 1848-1849. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1977). Pg. 161.
[128] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 127.
[129] Ibid., pg. 145.
[130] Paine, Thomas. “Letter to George Washington.” Complete Writings, Volume 1. (Citadel Press. Binghamton, NY: 1945). Pgs. 698-699.
[131] Paine, Thomas. “To the People of England on the Invasion of England.” Complete Writings, Volume 1. (Citadel Press. Binghamton, NY: 1945). Pg. 678.
[132] “The peculiarity of the French Revolution is that one section of the liberal middle class was prepared to remain revolutionary up to and indeed beyond the brink of anti-bourgeois revolution: these were the Jacobins, whose name came to stand for ‘radical revolution’ everywhere.” Hobsbawm, Eric. The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848. (Vintage Books. New York, NY: 1996). Pg. 62.
[133] Trotskii, Leon. Results and Prospects. Translated by Brian Pearce. Permanent Revolution and Results and Prospects. (Pathfinder Press. New York, NY: 1978). Pg. 54.
[134] Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2006). Pg. 39.
[135] Abbé de Sieyès. “What is the Third Estate?” Translated by Michael Sonenscher. Political Writings. (Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. Indianapolis, IN: 2003). Pg. 101.
[136] Renner, Karl. “State and Nation.” Translated by Joseph O’Donnell. National Cultural Autonomy and Its Contemporary Critics. (Routledge. New York, NY: 2005). Pg. 24.
[137] “The basic characteristic of the modern nation…is its modernity.” Hobsbawm, Eric. Nations and Nationalism since 1780. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2000). Pg. 14.
[138] Adorno, Theodor. History and Freedom: Lectures 1964-1965. Translated by Rolf Tiedemann. (Polity Press. Malden, MA: 2006). Pg. 103.
[139] Renan, Ernest. “What is a Nation?” Translated by Martin Thom. Nation and Narration. (Routledge. New York, NY: 2000). Pg. 9.
[140] “[T]he nation is the specifically bourgeois form of social organization; it is a form of organization because it emerged historically in certain definite units, whether geographical or linguistic in nature, or whether otherwise defined. It…has had to fight to establish itself in the course of historical struggles.” Adorno, History and Freedom. Pg. 105.
[141] “There have been periods when the nation had a highly progressive function…[T]he development of communications, and hence of the forces of production in general, was advanced by the collapse of the barriers erected by small feudal monarchies, the states generally referred to under absolutism as petty principalities…It was only by bringing large territories together and combining them into a single political unit that it became possible to organize large bodies of people in a rational manner and in harmony with the principle of exchange…[U]nder the feudal system, groups of people were only loosely connected with one another and in those circumstances could not be welded together into the totality of bourgeois society.” Ibid., pg. 107.
[142] Losurdo, Heidegger and the Ideology of War. Pg. 144.
[143] ““The term Gemeinschaft…, which designates a fundamental category of German antimodernist tradition and of the Kriegsideologie, is simply Friedrich von Gentz’s translation of the ‘partnership’ theorized and exalted by Burke…, the ‘community [that] binds together not only the living, but the living, the dead, and the unborn’…The first theorization of ‘community,’ bathed in sacred aura, is formulated in England.” Ibid., pgs. 223-224.
[144] Hobsbawm’s periodicity here is slightly different from the one he utilizes in his famous quadrilogy on the Age of Revolution (1789-1848), the Age of Capital (1848-1875), the Age of Empire (1875-1914), and the Age of Extremes (1914-1991).
[145] “Ethnic group differences were from [the] revolutionary-democratic point of view as secondary as they later seemed to socialists.” Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780. Pg. 20.
[146] Herder wrote in 1796: “Just as entire nations have one language in common, so they also share favorite paths of the imagination, certain turns and objects of thought: in short, one genius that expresses itself,…which we call its national character.” Herder, Johann Gottfried. “On the Character of Nations and Ages.” Translated by Ioannis D. Evrigenis and Daniel Pellerin. Another Philosophy of History and Other Political Writings. (Hackett Publishing Company. Indianapolis, IN: 2004). Pg. 119.
[147] Bauer, Otto. The Question of Nationalities and Social-Democracy. Translated by Joseph O’Donnell. (University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis, MN: 2000). Pgs. 25-43.
[148] Ibid., pg. 37. My emphasis. I would also contend that the reactionary character of liberalism did not become apparent until 1848, however, and suspect Hobsbawm would as well.
[149] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pgs. 159-163.
[150] Losurdo, “Flight from History?” Pg. 490.
[151] Losurdo, “Lenin and Herrenvolk Democracy.” Pg. 250. “[T]he Chinese Communists understood to stay on the high ground represented by Lenin’s views of 1916, which stressed that the national question remains even after Communist and workers’ parties come to state power.” Losurdo, “Flight from History?” Pg. 489.
[152] Losurdo, “Marxism, Globalization, and the Historical Balance of Socialism.” Pg. 349.
[153] Losurdo, “Flight from History?” Pgs. 481-482.
[154] Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement.” Pg. 46.
[155] “20th-century forms of na­tionalism (i.e., ‘anti-colonialism’) and Stalinism were the predominant (but not exclusive) results of the failed crisis of Marxism 1914-1919.” Cutrone, Chris. “1873-1973, The Century of Marxism: The Death of Marxism and the Emergence of Neoliberalism and Neo-anarchism.” The Platypus Review. (№ 47. June, 2012). Pg. 3.
[156] Losurdo, Domenico. “Revolution, Nation, and Peace.” Translated by Arlete Dialetachi. Estudos Avançados. (Vol. 22, № 62: 2008). Pg. 18.
[157] Ibid., pg. 19.
[158] Pitts, “Free for All.” Pg. 9.
[159] “Losurdo’s silence on women’s struggles for recognition is so complete as to be puzzling.” Serpe, “Liberalism’s Exclusions and Expansions.” Pg. 60.
[160] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 181.
[161] Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement.” Pg. 36.
[162] “The mainstream French press enjoys interviewing such a relaxed and ‘cool’ philosopher who, besides being very photogenic and writing with flair, plays the part of the essayist explaining contemporary anxieties about education, the fate or future of the Left, the status of minorities, and economic growth, among other subjects, to a wide readership.” Coste, Bénédicte. “Michéa’s Radical Philosophy and Its Discontents.” Yale French Studies. (№ 116-117: 2009). Pgs. 80-81.
[163] Michéa, Jean-Claude. The Realm of Lesser Evil: An Essay on Liberal Civilization. Translated by David Fernbach. (Polity Press. Malden, MA: 2009). Pgs. 122-126.
[164] Žižek, Slavoj. Living in the End Times. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2010). Pgs. 37-39.
[165] Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 9.
[166] Žižek, Slavoj. “Slavoj Žižek, interviewed by Dianna Dilworth.” The Believer. (McSweeney’s Publishers. LLC: July 1st, 2004). Pg. 170.
[167] “This certainly does not mean that the whole series of conflicts that disorganized Europe at this time can be reduced simply to religious civil war. But the latter formed the permanent background, with the result that even the seemingly more classic wars that were regularly waged between the political powers of the time — such as the terrible Thirty Years War in the first half of the seventeenth century — were always overdetermined, both in their origin and in their concrete peripeties, by the logic of this new form of conflict. It also affected the very nature of human relations in the most radical fashion.” Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 10.
[168] Ibid., pg. 12.
[169] “It is in all likelihood this haunting by civil war that explains…why the philosophers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (and particularly those of Protestant origin or sensibility) almost always describe their ‘state of nature’ as a condition necessarily governed by the war of all against all.” Ibid., pg. 11.
[170] Ibid., pg. 5.
[171] Ibid., pg. 80.
[172] Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Translated by H.B. Nisbet. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2003). Pg. 22.
[173]Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 1.
[174] Ibid., pg. 41.
[175] The essays to which Michéais referring are Lenin’s “The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism” (1913) and Kautsky’s lecture on “The Three Sources of Marxism” (1907). Ibid., pg. 40.
[176] “Michéa sees contemporary neoliberalism and socialism as predicated on the worship of progress and modernity.” Coste, “Michéa’s Radical Philosophy and Its Discontents.” Pg. 83.
[177] Agreeing with Christopher Lasch, Michéa writes that “[t]he modern belief in Progress…should not be interpreted as simply ‘a secularized version of Christian millenarianism.’ It is fundamentally the sign of a very prosaic aspiration to finally live in peace, far from the murderous agitations of History, and a legitimate desire on the part of individuals (at least according to Adam Smith) to now devote the essential part of their efforts to ‘improving their condition’ by peacefully seeing to their own affairs. In this sense, the modern ideal of progress was originally anchored less in the attractions of some earthly paradise than in the desire to escape at all costs from the hell of ideological civil war.” Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pgs. 12-13.
[178] Ibid., pg. 44.
[179] Leonard, Spencer. “Going it Alone: Christopher Hitchens and the Death of the Left.” The Platypus Review. (№ 11. March 15th, 2009). Pg. 3.
[180] Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 22.
[181] On sexual impropriety: ibid., pgs. 21-22, 37. On obesity and vegetarianism: ibid., pg. 99. On drugs: ibid., pgs. 20, 23.
[182] Michéa, Jean-Claude. “Socialism or Barbarism? We have to Choose Now!” Interview conducted by Daoud Boughezala, Jacques de Guillebon, Élisabeth Lévy, and Bruno Maillé.
[183] Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 81.
[184] Ibid., pg. 127.
[185] “In the liberal monadology, the family tie can only be conceived as a particular modality of contractual logic.” Ibid., pg. 102.
[186] Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. Pg. 4.
[187] Staël, Anne Louise Germaine de. Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution. Translator undisclosed. (Liberty Fund. Indianapolis, IN: 2008). Pg. 191.
[188] Bonald, Louis de. “Observations upon Madame de Staël’s Considerations on the French Revolution.” Translated by Christopher Olaf Blum. Critics of the Enlightenment: Readings in the French Counter-Revolutionary Tradition. (ISI Books. Wilmington, DE: 2004). Pg. 87.
[189] Ibid., pg. 100.
[190] “The essence of the modem state is that the universal should be linked with the complete freedom of particularity [Besonderheit] and the well-being of individuals, and hence that the interest of the family and of civil society must become focused on the state.” Hegel, Philosophy of Right. Pg. 283, §260.
[191] “The positive transcendence of private property, as the appropriation of human life, is therefore the positive transcendence of all estrangement — that is to say, the return of man from religion, family, state, etc., to his human, i. e., social, existence.” Marx, Karl. Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. Translated by Martin Milligan and Dirk J. Struik. Collected Works, Volume 3: 1843-1844. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 2005). Pg. 297.
[192] Riehl, Walter Heinrich. The Natural History of the German People. Translated by David J. Diephouse. (Edwin Mellen Press. Lewiston, NY: 1990). Pg. 330.
[193] Michéa, “Socialism or Barbarism? We have to Choose Now!”
[194] Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 132.
[195] Ibid., pg. 105. My emphasis.
[196] “…(which basically sum up our personal capacity to give, receive, and assist).” Ibid., pg. 94.
[197] On “the logic of the gift”: Passim, ibid., pgs. 46, 92-94, 105-106, 109, 119, 127.
[198] Michéa asserts that “generosity and honesty are worth infinitely more than egoism and the calculating spirit.” Ibid., pg. 107. Compare again with the celebration of the egoism’s emancipatory potential by Marx and Engels: “[The bourgeoisie] has drowned the ecstasies of religious fervor, of zealous chivalry, of philistine sentiment in the icy waters of egoistic calculation.” Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. Pg. 3.
[199] Graeber, David. Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams. (Palgrave. New York, NY: 2001). Passim, pgs. vii, 8, 11, 18-19, 27-29, 32-37, 40-45, 77, 91, 93-94, 99, 104, 112-113, 124-126, 131, 133, 137, 140-141, 143-144, 146, 152-164, 166-169, 174-176, 178-184, 186, 191-192, 194, 196, 198, 200, 204, 208, 210-213, 215, 217-222, 224-228, 230. Graeber, David. Debt: The First 5,000 Years. (Melville House. Brooklyn, NY: 2011). Passim, pgs. 36, 61, 90, 98-99, 103-112, 116-120, 132, 137-138, 145-146, 153-154, 172, 186, 187, 192-195, 219-220, 238, 262, 264, 285-286, 300, 328, 371.
[200] Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 133. “Michéa cannot be said to embrace the anti-globalization movement, which he blames for seeking some adjustments in the concept of the market, without, however, abandoning notions relating to the metaphysics of progress.” Coste, “Michéa’s Radical Philosophy and Its Discontents.” Pg. 88.
[201] “[I]n its essence direct action is the insistence, when faced with structures of unjust authority, on acting as if one is already free. One does not solicit the state.” Graeber, David. Direct Action: An Ethnography. (AK Press. Baltimore, MD: 2009). Pg. 203.
[202] Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 128. My italics. On “indirect action,” see also: “Asian theories of ‘not acting’ (wu wei) suggest privileging in all fields of activity ‘strategies’ based on indirect action.” Ibid., pg. 129.
[203] “The realm of lesser evil, as its shadow has stretched over the entire planet, seems set on taking over…all the features of its oldest enemy. It now wants to be adored as the best of worlds.” Ibid., pg. 140.
[204] Ibid., pg. 139.
[205] Ibid., pg. 59.
[206] Reid, Thomas. An Inquiry Into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense. (Edinburgh University Press. Edinburgh, Scotland: 2000). Pg. 72.
[207] “[I]t is sufficient for me to have kept within the limits of common decency [civilité ordinaire].” Bayle, Pierre. “Fourth Clarification: On Obscenities.” Translated by Sally L. Jenkinson. Political Writings. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2000). Pg. 337.
[208] “[L]iberalism conceives itself as a ‘politics of the lesser evil,’ its ambition is to bring about the ‘least worst society possible,’ thus preventing a greater evil, since it considers any attempt to directly impose a positive good as the ultimate source of all evil. Churchill’s quip about democracy being the worst of all political systems, with the exception of all the others, holds even better for liberalism…However…[t]he claim to want nothing but the lesser evil, once asserted as the principle of the new global order, gradually replicates the very features of the enemy it claims to be fighting against. The global liberal order clearly presents itself as the best of all possible worlds.” Žižek, Living in the End Times. Pg. 38.
[209] Žižek, “Slavoj Žižek, interviewed by Dianna Dilworth.” Pgs. 169-170.
[210] Toscano, Alberto. Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2010). Pgs. 2-3.
[211] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 40.
[212] “‘Postcolonial’ critics like to emphasize the insensitivity of liberalism to its own limitation: in defending human rights, it tends to impose its own version of them onto others.” Žižek, Slavoj. Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. (Picador Press. New York, NY: 2008). Pgs. 147-148.
[213] Ibid., pg. 149.
[214] Postone, Moishe. “Theorizing the Contemporary World: Robert Brenner, Giovanni Arrighi, and David Harvey.” History and Heteronomy: Critical Essays. (UTCP. Tokyo, Japan: 2009). Pg. 106.
[215] Žižek, Slavoj. The Parallax View. (The MIT Press. Cambridge, MA: 2006). Pg. 157.
[216] Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. The Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by A.V. Miller. (Oxford University Press. New York, NY: 1977). Pg. 7, §12.
[217] Žižek, Slavoj. “Only Communism can Save Liberal Democracy.” ABC Religion and Ethics. (October 3rd, 2011).
[218] “[L]iberalism and fundamentalism form a ‘totality’: the opposition of liberalism and fundamentalism is structured so that liberalism itself generates its opposite. So what about the core values of liberalism: freedom, equality, fraternity?” Ibid.
[219] Toscano, Alberto. “The Bourgeois and the Islamist, or, the Other Subjects of Politics.” Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy.(Vol. 2, № 1-2: 2006). Pg. 35.
[220] “Islamic fundamentalism refers to a community of people who, not without reason, claim to be the targets of a policy of aggression and of military occupation.” Losurdo, “Pre-emptive War, Americanism, and Anti-Americanism.” Pg. 380. Elsewhere he gestures toward the reactionary character of Islamism: “The world of Islam is called upon to overcome the current decadence and crisis by a return to the situation prior to the military, ideological, and political Western aggression, and this means…a protection…against all Western political tendencies without differentiation, from liberalism to communism.” Losurdo, “What is Fundamentalism?” Pg. 11.
[221] “The universalization of liberal rights to excluded groups was not a spontaneous consequence of liberalism, but resulted from forces outside liberalism.” Losurdo, “Liberalism and Marx.” Pg. 3. “[T]he exclusion clauses [of liberalism] were not overcome painlessly, but through violent upheavals of a sometimes quite unprecedented violence.” Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pg. 341.
[222] “With scarcely a thought respecting the now definitive failure of the trajectory of the October Revolution that conserved, in however degraded a form, the emancipatory impulses of Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, and Lenin, the zombie-Left in 1989 congratulated itself on yet another supposed accomplishment.” Leonard, “The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century: 2001.” Pg. 2.
[223] Postone, Moishe. “Critical Theory and the Twentieth Century.” History and Heteronomy: Critical Essays. (UTCP. Tokyo, Japan: 2009). Pg. 51.
[224] Žižek, “Only Communism can Save Liberal Democracy.”
[225] Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement.” Pg. 54. “Of course, the welfare state was not the result of an internal, spontaneous evolution. It was…a result of the challenge posed [to liberalism] by the socialist movement…But now, with the practical disappearance of the socialist challenge, at least in the Western world, we see, unfortunately, that the disappearing of this challenge…[and] the risks it posed, has led to the disappearance of the welfare state, too.” Losurdo, Domenico. Interview conducted by Tony Curzon Price. “Liberalism: The Road from Serfdom. A Conversation with Domenico Losurdo.” Open Democracy. May 15th, 2011. Minutes 39:14-41:02.
[226] “Lukács once wrote of the Enlightenment hope that ‘democratic bourgeois freedom and the supremacy of economics would one day lead to the salvation of all mankind.’ As we know only too well, it did not… [T]he more perceptive of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers — above all, Smith himself, Adam Ferguson, and John Millar — [maintained a] studied ambiguity towards ‘actually-existing capitalism’ as it emerged towards the end of the eighteenth century…We in the movements against globalization and imperialist war [have fought for what they did under a different name].” Davidson, Neil. “How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions?” Historical Materialism. (Vol. 13, № 4: 2005). Pg. 49.
[227] Marx, Karl. The Civil War in France. Translated by David Forgacs et al. Collected Works, Volume 22: 1870-1871. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1986). Pg. 335. My emphases.
[228] Engels, Friedrich. “England’s 17th-Century Revolution: A Review of François Guizot’s 1850 Pamphlet, Pourquoi la révolution d’Angleterre a-t-elle réussi?.” Translated by H.J. Sterling. Collected Works, Volume 10: 1848-1851. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1980). Pg. 253.
[229] Marx, The Civil War in France. Pg. 335. My emphases.
[230] Lenin, Vladimir Il’ich. “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder. Translated by Julius Katzer. Collected Works, Volume 31: April-December 1920. (Progress Publishers. Moscow, USSR: 1974). Pg. 56.
[231] “Political economy has…analyzed value and its magnitude, however incompletely, and has uncovered the content concealed within these forms. But it has never once asked the question…why the measurement of labor by its duration is expressed in the magnitude of the value of the product. These formulas, which bear the unmistakable stamp of belonging to a social formation in which the process of production has mastery over man…appear to the political economists’ bourgeois consciousness to be as much a self-evident and nature-imposed necessity as productive labor itself.” Marx, Capital: Volume 1. Pgs. 173-175.
[232] Lukács, Georg. “Critical Observations on Rosa Luxemburg’s ‘Critique of the Russian Revolution.’” Translated by Rodney Livingstone. History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics. (The MIT Press. Cambridge, MA: 1971). Pg. 282.
[233]Communism…as the complete return of man to himself as a social (i.e., human) being — a return accomplished consciously and embracing the entire wealth of previous development. This communism, as fully developed naturalism, equals humanism, and as fully developed humanism equals naturalism; it is the genuine resolution of the conflict between man and nature and between man and man — the true resolution of the strife between existence and essence, between objectification and self-affirmation, between freedom and necessity, between the individual and the species. Communism is the riddle of history solved.” Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. Pgs. 296-297.
[234] “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. Pg. 32.
[235] Engels, Friedrich. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. Translated by Edward Aveling. Collected Works, Volume 24: 1873-1874. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1989). Pgs. 323-324.
[236] Luxemburg, Rosa. “What does the Spartacus League Want?” Translated by Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson. The Rosa Luxemburg Reader. (Monthly Review Press. New York, NY: 2004). Pg. 350.
[237] Rubin, Richard. “Trotskii and Trotskyism: 1905.”
[238] “[T]o the extent that [liberals] assume people to be ‘incapable of truth and goodness,’…the modernizing ‘Politiques’…found themselves logically led to limit their philosophical ambitions to seeking the least bad society possible.” Michéa, The Realm of Lesser Evil. Pg. 60.
[239] On ecological catastrophe: Žižek, Living in the End Times. Pg. 328. On nuclear war: ibid., pg. 332.
[240] Žižek, Slavoj. In Defense of Lost Causes. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2008). Pg. 421.
[241] Jameson, Fredric. Valences of the Dialectic. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 2009). Pg. 412.
[242] “The notion of adaptation refers to the different strategies which humanity has invented to exploit the resources of nature and confront the ecological constraints which weigh upon the reproduction of both natural and human resources.” Godelier, Maurice. The Mental and the Material: Thought Economy and Society. Translated by Martin Thom. (Verso Books. New York, NY: 1986). Pg. 5.
[243] “There are no miracles in nature or history, but every abrupt turn in history — and this applies to every revolution — presents such a wealth of content, unfolds such unexpected and specific combinations of forms of struggle and alignment of forces of the contestants, that to the lay mind there is much that must appear miraculous.” Lenin, Vladimir Il’ich. Letters from Afar. Translated by M.S. Levin and Joe Fineberg. Collected Works, Volume 23: August 1916-March 1917. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1964). Pg. 297.
[244] “That which is sublated is…something [negated,] at the same time preserved, something that has lost its immediacy but has not come to nothing for that.” Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. The Science of Logic. Translated by George di Giovanni. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2010). Pgs. 81-82.
[245] Cutrone, Chris. “Lenin’s Politics: A Rejoinder to David Adam on Lenin’s Liberalism.” The Platypus Review. (№ 40. October, 2011). Pg. 2.
[246] Davidson, “How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions? (Part 2).” Pg. 7.
[247] Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. Pg. 3.
[248] “The party of Order was formed directly after the June days.” Marx, The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850. Pg. 95.
[249] Marx, The Civil War in France. Pg. 34.
[250] Thiers was a member of the French Radicals. This again undermines the meaning Losurdo attempts to assign to the term “radical,” as Marx and Engels refer specifically to the French Radicals’ opposition to Communism: “A specter stalks the land of Europe — the specter of communism. The powers that be — Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police — are in holy alliance for a witch-hunt.” Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. Pg. 1.
[251] “[O]ne may well arrive at the conclusion that bourgeois revolution is almost a myth, and that it has hardly ever occurred, even in the West. Capitalist entrepreneurs, merchants, and bankers were not conspicuous among the leaders of the Puritans or the commanders of the Ironsides, in the Jacobin Club or at the head of the crowds that stormed the Bastille or invaded the Tuileries. Nor did they seize the reins of government during the revolution or for long time afterwards, either in England or in France. The lower middle classes, the urban poor, the plebeians and sans culottes made up the big insurgent battalions…Yet the bourgeois character of these revolutions will not appear at all mythical, if we approach them with a broader criterion and view their general impact on society. Their most substantial and enduring achievement was to sweep away the social and political institutions that had hindered the growth of bourgeois property and of the social relationships that went with it…Bourgeois revolution creates the conditions in which bourgeois property can flourish. In this…lies its differentia specifica.” Deutscher, Isaac. The Unfinished Revolution, Russia 1917-1967: The George Macaulay Trevelyan lectures delivered in the University of Cambridge. (Oxford University Press. New York, NY: 1967). Pg. 22.
[252] “If we have to choose between modern revisionist historiography as a guide to nineteenth-century history, including French history, and the liberal analysts of the Restoration, is it so certain that Furet is more illuminating than Guizot, Mignet, and de Tocqueville?” Hobsbawm, Eric. “The Making of a ‘Bourgeois Revolution.’” The French Revolution and the Birth of Modernity. (University of California Press. Los Angeles, CA: 1990). Pg. 46. “Even though the high tide of revisionism has now receded, many on the Left have effectively accepted the case for the irrelevance of the bourgeois revolutions.” Davidson, Neil. “How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions? (Part 1).” Historical Materialism. (Vol. 13, № 3: 2005). Pg. 5. It is quite possible that Davidson was too optimistic on this score: see the recent dismissal of the bourgeois revolutions by Salar Mohandesi and Asad Haider.
[253] Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pgs. 341-342.
[254] “[S]elf-identity is no less negativity; therefore its fixed existence passes over into its dissolution. [This] seems at first to be due entirely to the fact that it is related to an other,…imposed on it by an alien power; but [it in fact has] its otherness within itself.” Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit. Pg. 34.
[255] Lenin, Vladimir Il’ich. “What Our Liberal Bourgeoisie Want, and What They Fear.” Translated by Abraham Fineberg and Julius Katzer. Collected Works, Volume 9: June-November 1905. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1972). Pg. 241.
[256] Trotskii, Results and Prospects. Pg. 54.
[257] “From the time of the Restoration the liberals of all countries called upon the people to overthrow the monarchic feudal system for the sake of equality, the tears of the wretched, the suffering of the oppressed, and the starvation of the destitute…[The liberals] came to their senses only when [in 1848], amid the half-ruined walls, they espied a proletarian — not a proletarian in books, in parliamentary twaddle, or in philanthropic harangues, but in stark reality, a workman with an axe in rude hands, tattered and starved. This unfortunate and disinherited brother of whom so much had been said and who had been so deeply pitied now demanded his share in the blessings, his freedom, his equality, and his fraternity. Aghast at his impertinence and ingratitude, the liberals took the streets of Paris by assault, strewed them with corpses and hid from their brother behind the bayonets of martial law, thereby preserving civilization and order.” Herzen, Aleksandr. From the Other Shore. Translated by L. Navrozov. Selected Philosophical Works. (Foreign Language Publishing House. Moscow, USSR: 1956). Pg. 381.
[258] “One hundred years have elapsed since Herzen’s birth. The whole of liberal Russia is paying homage to him, studiously evading, however, the serious questions of socialism, and taking pains to conceal that which distinguished Herzen the revolutionary from a liberal.” Lenin, Vladimir Il’ich. “In Memory of Herzen.” Translated by Stepan Apresyan. Collected Works, Volume 18: April 1912-March 1913. (Progress Publishers. Moscow, USSR: 1975). Pg. 25.
[259] Herzen, From the Other Shore. Pgs. 376-377.
[260] Lenin, “In Memory of Herzen.” Pg. 26.
[261] Cutrone, Chris. “Egypt, or, history’s invidious comparisons: 1979, 1789, and 1848.” The Platypus Review. (№ 33. March 1st, 2011). Pgs. 1, 4.
[262] “In [the] unchanged world of debates, discords, and irreconcilable contradictions…[the liberals] wanted …their pia desideria of freedom, equality, and fraternity.” Herzen, From the Other Shore. Pgs. 381-382.
[263] Tocqueville, Alexis de. “Letter 58: To Paul Clamorgan, June 24th, 1848.” Translated by James Toupin and Roger Boesche. Selected Letters on Politics and Society. (University of California Press. Los Angeles, CA: 1985). Pgs. 212-213.
[264] Rapport, Mike. 1848: Year of Revolution. (Basic Books. New York, NY: 2009). Pg. 206.
[265] Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph. Confessions of a Revolutionary. Translated by Shawn P. Wilbur. Property is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology. (AK Press. Baltimore, MD: 2011). Pg. 426.
[266] “Hegel observes somewhere that all the great events and characters of world history occur twice, so to speak. He forgot to add: the first time as high tragedy, the second time as low farce. Caussidière after Danton, Louis Blanc after Robespierre, the montagne of 1848-1851 after the montagne of 1793-1795, and then the London constable with a dozen of the best debt-ridden lieutenants, after the little corporal, with his roundtable of military marshals!” Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Pg. 103.
[267] Marx, Karl. “Speech at the Anniversary of the People’s Paper.” Collected Works, Volume 14: 1855-1856. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1980). Pg. 655.
[268] Lenin, Vladimir Il’ich. “Socialism and the Peasantry.” Translated by Abraham Fineberg and Julius Katzer. Collected Works, Volume 9: 1905. (Progress Publishers. Moscow, USSR: 1972). Pg. 307.
[269] Marx, “Speech at the Anniversary of the People’s Paper.” Pgs. 655-657.
[270] Cohan, Jeremy. “Lukács’ Abyss.” The Platypus Review. (№ 38. August, 2011). Pg. 3.
[271] Trotskii, Leon. “Great Times.” The Communist International. (Moscow, USSR: 1919).
[272] On Hayek: Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History, passim, pgs. 212-213, 284, 300, 332, 333; Losurdo, “Towards a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism,” passim, pgs. 27-28, 36, 37, 43-45; Losurdo, Hegel and the Freedom of Moderns, pgs. 30, 77, 82, 133, 190-191, 267-271, 274, 279, 284-285, 292, 300, 306-308; Losurdo, “What is Fundamentalism?”, pgs. 29-30; Losurdo, “History of the Communist Movement,” pgs. 36-37. On Mises: Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History, passim pgs. 284, 327-328, 333.
[273] “Demonstrating an extraordinary flexibility, [liberalism] constantly sought to react and rise to the challenges of the time…Liberalism has proved capable of learning from its antagonist (‘radicalism’) to a far greater extent than its antagonist has proved capable of learning from it.” Ibid., Pg. 343.
[274] “None has been as committed as [liberalism] to thinking through the decisive problem of the limitation of power.” Ibid., pg. 343. “[L]iberalism has the great historical and theoretical merit of having taught the limitation of power within a determined, limited community.” Losurdo, “Liberalism and Marx.” Pg. 3.
[275] “The basic assumptions of possessive individualism — that man is free and human by virtue of his sole proprietorship of his own person, and that human society is essentially a series of market relations — were deeply embedded in the seventeenth century.” Macpherson, C.B. The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: From Hobbes to Locke. (Oxford University Press. New York, NY: 1990). Pg. 272.
[276] “I find in the classical liberal tradition from Locke to Bentham and James Mill an increasing recognition of the exploitative nature of a society based on the capital/wage-labor relation…With J.S. Mill and T.H. Green (and their twentieth-century liberal followers) there is no recognition, indeed there is a denial, of the exploitative nature of capital.” Macpherson, C.B. “The Economic Penetration of Political Theory: Some Hypotheses.” Journal of the History of Ideas. (Vol. 39, № 1: January-March 1978). Pg. 112.
[277] “J.S. Mill, in spite of his ranking as an outstanding economist, did not grasp the essence of the capitalist market economy,…[and] was able to rise above the market morality only because he did not…The next outstanding figure in the English liberal-democratic tradition, T.H. Green, a philosopher with no pretensions as an economist,…like Mill…despised and rejected market morality.” Macpherson, C.B. “Post-Liberal Democracy?” Canadian Journal of Economics and Politics. (Vol. 30, № 4: November, 1964). Pg. 490.
[278] “[H]ow did ideas of equality, liberty, and fraternity lead to empire, liberticide, and fratricide? Similarly, how did a commitment to toleration lead to such patronizing and unsympathetic characterizations of the ways in which strangers lived their lives? Moreover, where did thinkers whose deepest convictions made them suspicious of the power of government acquire the confidence to sanction the most extravagant forms of government and public action? How did philosophers and historians like J.S. Mill and John Seeley, who were committed to the idea of national self-determination, see in an ancient civilization like India none of the integuments of a nation or of ‘a people’?” Mehta, Uday Singh. Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought. (University of Chicago Press. Chicago, IL: 1999). Pg. 190.
[279] Nevertheless, it should be noted that in his speculations regarding the longue durée of liberal political theory, Mehta anticipates the central claim later made by Losurdo about liberalism’s “exclusion clauses”: “In its theoretical vision, liberalism, from the seventeenth century to the present, has prided itself on its universality and politically inclusionary character. And yet, when viewed as a historical phenomenon, the period of liberal history is unmistakably marked by the systematic and sustained political exclusion of various groups and ‘types’ of people.” Ibid., pg. 46.
[280] Koditschek, Theodore. Liberalism, Imperialism, and the Historical Imagination: Nineteenth-Century Visions of a Greater Britain. (Cambridge University Press. New York, NY: 2011). Pgs. 4-6.
[281] Wallerstein, Immanuel. After Liberalism. (The New Press. New York, NY: 1995). Pg. 95.
[282] Notably, Losurdo appeals to Wallerstein’s work on a number of occasions, as with Hofstadter, though their results contradict his own. Losurdo, Liberalism: A Counter-History. Pgs. 15, 87, 302.
[283] Poggi, Gianfranco. The Development of the Modern State: A Sociological Introduction. (Stanford University Press. Stanford, CA: 1978). Pgs. 36-59.
[284] Marx, Karl. “Letter to Friedrich Engels.” Translated by Peter Ross and Betty Ross. Collected Works, Volume 39: Letters, 1852-1855. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1983). Pgs. 473-474.
[285] Postone, Time, Labor, and Social Domination. Pg. 259.
[286] Leonard, Spencer. Recording: “Marx’s Critique of Political Economy: Proletarian Socialism Continuing the Bourgeois Revolutions?” Marxism and the Bourgeois Revolution. Lecture at the Marxist Literary Group summer 2011 Institute on Culture and Society. July 20th-24th, 2011. Minutes 6:09-6:15.
[287] Ibid., minutes 10:58-11:06.
[288] Engels, Friedrich. “Speech at the Festival of Nations in London.” Collected Works, Volume 6: 1845-1848. (International Publishers. New York, NY: 1976). Pg. 3.

One thought on “Notes to “The Truth of Liberalism”

  1. Pingback: Conclusion: The Truth of Liberalism « The Charnel-House

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