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The Opium of the Intellectuals de Raymond…
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The Opium of the Intellectuals (original: 1955; edição: 1957)

de Raymond Aron

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Raymond Aron's 1955 masterpieceThe Opium of the Intellectuals, is one of the great works of twentieth- century political reflection. Aron shows how noble ideas can slide into the tyranny of "secular religion" and emphasizes how political thought has the profound responsibility of telling the truth about social and political reality-in all its mundane imperfections and tragic complexities. Aron explodes the three "myths" of radical thought: the Left, the Revolution, and the Proletariat. Each of these ideas, Aron shows, are ideological, mystifying rather than illuminating. He also provides a fascinating sociology of intellectual life and a powerful critique of historical determinism in the classically restrained prose for which he is justly famous. For this new edition, prepared by Daniel J. Mahoney and Brian C. Anderson as part of Transaction's ongoing "Aron Project," political scientist Harvey Mansfield provides a luminous introduction that underscores the permanent relevance of Aron's work. The new edition also includes as an appendix "Fanaticism, Prudence, and Faith," a remarkable essay that Aron wrote to defend Opium from its critics and to explain further his view of the proper role of political thinking. The book will be of interest to all students of political theory, history, and sociology. hat underscores the permanent relevance of Aron's work. The new edition also includes as an appendix "Fanaticism, Prudence, and Faith," a remarkable essay that Aron wrote to defend Opium from its critics and to explain further his view of the proper role of political thinking. The book will be of interest to all students of political theory, history, and sociology.… (mais)
Membro:sopikats
Título:The Opium of the Intellectuals
Autores:Raymond Aron
Informação:Secker & Warburg (1957), Unknown Binding
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The Opium of the Intellectuals de Raymond Aron (1955)

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Si bien es de 1954 mantiene la actualidad, escrito para criticar el dogmatismo de parte de los intelectuales que se habían adherido acríticamente al marxismo, sirve como una reflexión contra toda adhesión acrítica a una teoría, Contra todo dogmatismo y adhesión incondicionada ( )
  gneoflavio | Jan 19, 2020 |
Raymond Aron's masterpiece, "The Opium of the Intellectuals", uses Marx' famous description of the nature of religion to turn it against the latter-day followers of Marxism in France, in particular the Stalinist fellow travellers of the 1950s and their "Third Way"-ish epigones of the 1960s. Against these, Aron flings volley after volley of critique, most of it aimed to demonstrate the debatability if not meaninglessness of the concepts used by these authors (Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, etc.), such as "The Proletariat", "The Revolution", "The Meaning of History", and so on and so forth. Aron's criticisms of the many-sidedness, flexibility and reified nature (if we may use that Marxist term here) of those terms is well-done and in most cases hits home.

Less certain is Aron's general criticism of the French left and its intellectual pretensions. The more Aron leaves the easily attacked Stalinists for what they are and the more he tries to attack the general viewpoint of leftist politics, whether communist or not, the more vague and meandering his arguments get and the less clear his actual point becomes. He seems to be leaning on a Weberian idea of responsibility in politics, involving the need to deal mainly with practical and administrative problems rather than invoking grand phrases, and he also has some discussions about the importance of "productivity" and how considerations of this inevitably have to govern the real political debates of the kind he feels are sensible. But what he means by this "productivity" is never explained, and his side discussion about philosophy of history only makes this more confused.

On the whole, Aron seems to be advocating a conservative and pragmatic approach to political issues, focusing on the need for making choices, dealing with practical problems, and compromise, something on the continent definitely belonging to the political center-right. That Marxism-Leninism has mostly been ideological, uninterested in reality and full of hollow invective is certainly true, but even then it was no longer necessary for Aron to point it out - it was obvious to all but the orthodox communists themselves, and the famous collection "The God That Failed" had already been written, the XXnd Party Congress held. Almost nothing Aron writes in this book is applicable to the left in general, and in so far as he makes meaningful commentary about that, it is definitely incorrect; as can be seen from his general complete ignorance of economics (hidden behind a lot of vague phrasing), his Anglophilia, and his disinclination to understand socialism as anything else than state ownership of certain factories and the like.

That makes this work vaguely useful as a critique of the fashionable Leninism of the French left, and maybe also interesting as a document from the debates of those times, but it is of no lasting meaning or value.
3 vote McCaine | Mar 17, 2007 |
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Raymond Aron's 1955 masterpieceThe Opium of the Intellectuals, is one of the great works of twentieth- century political reflection. Aron shows how noble ideas can slide into the tyranny of "secular religion" and emphasizes how political thought has the profound responsibility of telling the truth about social and political reality-in all its mundane imperfections and tragic complexities. Aron explodes the three "myths" of radical thought: the Left, the Revolution, and the Proletariat. Each of these ideas, Aron shows, are ideological, mystifying rather than illuminating. He also provides a fascinating sociology of intellectual life and a powerful critique of historical determinism in the classically restrained prose for which he is justly famous. For this new edition, prepared by Daniel J. Mahoney and Brian C. Anderson as part of Transaction's ongoing "Aron Project," political scientist Harvey Mansfield provides a luminous introduction that underscores the permanent relevance of Aron's work. The new edition also includes as an appendix "Fanaticism, Prudence, and Faith," a remarkable essay that Aron wrote to defend Opium from its critics and to explain further his view of the proper role of political thinking. The book will be of interest to all students of political theory, history, and sociology. hat underscores the permanent relevance of Aron's work. The new edition also includes as an appendix "Fanaticism, Prudence, and Faith," a remarkable essay that Aron wrote to defend Opium from its critics and to explain further his view of the proper role of political thinking. The book will be of interest to all students of political theory, history, and sociology.

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