It was always a worry to me when Denis Dutton died that Arts & Letters Daily would drift over to the left. While I do not find it all that surprising, the full-speed-ahead pace at which the change has taken place has been quite disorienting. There is a rule invented by someone whose name escapes me that states that if an institution is not explicitly on the right it will move to the left. And so we have found once again.
What has clued me in has been how seldom I have opened a posting on A&L since the selection process was turned over to the anonymous researchers who had always sought out the various articles but until Denis passed away were not responsible for what was actually put up on the site.
But today’s article “In Praise of Marx” has finally done it for me and it is from the Chronicle of Higher Education itself which runs the site. Here is the final para from an article by someone who has just published a book titled Why Marx Was Right:
Why might Marx be back on the agenda? The answer, ironically, is because of capitalism. Whenever you hear capitalists talking about capitalism, you know the system is in trouble. Usually they prefer a more anodyne term, like “free enterprise.” The recent financial crashes have forced us once again to think of the setup under which we live as a whole, and it was Marx who first made it possible to do so. It was The Communist Manifesto which predicted that capitalism would become global, and that its inequalities would severely sharpen. Has his work any defects? Hundreds of them. But he is too creative and original a thinker to be surrendered to the vulgar stereotypes of his enemies.
That this sort of political statement is becoming more the rule than the exception on A&L Daily seems to be part of the nature of things but it is sad to lose an old friend not once but for a second time as well.