Showing posts from March, 2013

Karl Popper on Karl Marx - a short passage

Karl Popper was first and foremost a philosopher of science, which makes his criticisms of pseudo-scientific theories of society especially powerful. In his book The Open Society and Its Enemies , Popper takes apart many social theories, including the 'prophecies' of Karl Marx. It is remarkable however how complimentary and sympathetic he is towards Marx. This following passage from The Open Society and Its Enemies sums up Popper's attitude towards Marx very nicely, and I thought it was worth posting up here. “[Marx underrated] the significance of his own moral ideas; for it cannot be doubted that the secret of his religious influence was in its moral appeal, that his criticism of capitalism was effective mainly as a moral criticism. Marx showed that a moral system can as such be unjust; that if the system is bad, then all the righteousness of the individuals who profit from it is a mere sham righteousness, is mere hypocrisy. For our responsibility extends to th

On Patriarchy (Part 2): Context and Consequences

In a survey last year by Netmums , just one in seven of the British women questioned described themselves as ‘feminist’. The report concluded, “modern women feel traditional Feminism is no longer a label they feel proud to wear - it is seen as aggressive, divisive and doesn't take into account their personal circumstances”. Meanwhile, over at Huff Post UK, Lucy Sheriff has said: “ As much as I hate to admit, this is still a man's world. But I don't think feminism is going to change it . “ It's no longer a dirty word, it's the punchline of a joke .” What Lucy described as ‘feminism’ is surely more a reflection of what I called in Part 1 : “ the particularly strident, strict and aggressive brand of feminist politics that has taken over: almost exclusively confined to the Left of course ”. Feminism is much broader and richer than this, but as with most things, those people who get the best hearing tend to be those who shout the loudest and offer the m

On Patriarchy (Part 1): the Left’s new feminist ideologues

International Women’s Day on Friday 8 th March was quite an interesting 24 hours to be a man on the Left. I found it mostly depressing and demoralising though. I used to support the broad feminist agenda, but have become increasingly concerned by the particularly strident, strict and aggressive brand of feminist politics that has taken over: almost exclusively confined to the Left of course. Sexism is a serious, continuing and pressing concern in our society, but the kind of treatment it is getting from feminists threatens to distract from and undermine any effective attempts to address it. This treatment is now overwhelmingly ideological, focusing on sexism as something systemic ; indeed sometimes known as ‘patriarchy’. The divisive brand of politics that comes with this should be familiar to us from the Culture Wars between Left and Right in North America: it is highly emotive in its language, quick to cast blame and careless about where the blame lands. The