[Marxism] Angels and Demons | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 3 09:16:46 MDT 2019

Newly released by Zero Books, Tony McKenna’s aptly titled “Angels and 
Demons” is a collection of profiles of some very good and some very bad 
people in the past and present. It is the kind of book that is hard to 
find nowadays and a throwback in some ways to Lytton Strachey’s “Eminent 
Victorians” or Edmund Wilson’s “Axel’s Castle”. Like Strachey and 
Wilson, he evaluates prominent individuals against their social backdrop 
and from a decidedly radical perspective. It is a book that has the 
author’s customary psychological insight and literary grace. As we shall 
see, it demonstrates a remarkable breadth of knowledge about disparate 
cultural, political and intellectual strands that is seldom seen today 
in an age of specialization.

Your natural tendency is to think of human nature when people are 
categorized as either angels like Jeremy Corbyn or demons like Donald 
Trump. However, it is instead powerful historical forces that act on 
individuals and bring out their worst and their best, especially during 
periods of acute class tensions. In today’s polarized world, it is easy 
to understand why we end up with either a Corbyn or a Trump. As William 
Butler Yeats put it, the center cannot hold.

full: https://louisproyect.org/2019/05/03/angels-and-demons/

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