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Intellectual Perspective

This month, as we celebrate the happy events of twenty years ago, I recommend a great book (Political Pilgrims) by Paul Hollander — one that I recommended about a year ago.

Hollander also wrote this fine op-ed — “Murderous Idealism” — for Yesterday’s Washington Post.  Here’s a key paragraph — one that should remind us that whatever are the faults of capitalism, and whatever are the hardships today’s economic downturn cause, they are nothing when compared with the atrocities and inhumanity of the central-planning schemes loved throughout history by so many “enlightened” and “progressive” intellectuals.

In the aftermath of the fall of Soviet communism, many Western intellectuals remain convinced that capitalism is the root of all evil. There has been a long tradition of such animosity among Western intellectuals who gave the benefit of doubt or outright sympathy to political systems that denounced the profit motive and proclaimed their commitment to create a more humane and egalitarian society, and unselfish human beings. The failure of communist systems to improve human nature doesn’t mean that all such attempts are doomed, but improvements will be modest and are unlikely to be attained by coercion.