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December 13, 2018

Here's a list of some good leftist books I've come across over the years. Click on the titles for the PDFs. It's a somewhat arbitrary list, but I tried to keep it confined to fairly easy-to-read books, not overly theoretical or abstruse ones that might leave the beginning reader bewildered. I've been unable to find PDFs of certain excellent works, unfortunately. You can also cons...

October 22, 2017

[Excerpts from this book.]

Collectivism comes in both noble and evil forms. In the former, the principle of the individual is paramount; in the latter, the principle of the mass. The one means the rule of mutual self-actualization, self-respect, sympathy for others, democracy, human diversity—“an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free devel...

December 29, 2016

In an age when the State is daily demonstrating its willingness, or rather its extraordinary eagerness, to brutally repress dissent and democracy, it may be of interest to recall the experiences of survivors of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The following first-hand account was circulated in the weeks after the hurricane hit. As global warming intensifies, massively disrupting commun...

April 17, 2016

Staughton Lynd's Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism(1968) is a fantastic exploration of the ideological offshoots and effects of the Enlightenment in the United States, which all students of intellectual history should read. I took some notes on it here. But I'll also post them below:

The book begins with thoughtful philosophical analyses that set the Declaration of...

December 4, 2015

[Notes from my journal.]  I'm reading Paulo Freire’s famous little book The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970), which is apparently required reading for leftist intellectuals. It’s overrated. Repetitive, derivative (of Hegel, the early Marx, Sartre, Erich Fromm, etc.), and full of verbiage, albeit inspiring and enlivening verbiage. It consists of little more than eloquent and verbo...

November 9, 2015

[Notes from my journal.]

Reading parts of a collection of essays published in 1978 called Anarchism, edited by J. Roland Pennock and John W. Chapman. Pretty good philosophical essays, but I have to say that what I’ve seen of the literature on anarchism leaves much to be desired. Actually, the whole universe of anarchism, with all its different strains and movements and doctrines,...

September 27, 2015

[From an old journal entry.] Noam Chomsky is my intellectual conscience. I think about him every day, multiple times a day. He helps guide my thinking, at least on social and political questions. He has a genius for stating clear principles, premises or conclusions, which are nearly truistic but are surprisingly easy to ignore. Such as his insistence that the most elementary mora...

September 20, 2015

[This is an excerpt from Notes of an Underground Humanist.]

You should read Peter Kropotkin’s essay “The State: Its Historic Role.” L’état, c’est la guerre. One of the state’s historic roles, of course, has been to transplant the peasantry from the countryside to the cities so as to facilitate industrialization (i.e., to create Marx’s “reserve army of labor”) and make possible the...

May 20, 2015

[The following is an excerpt from this book.] 

In order to determine someone’s intellectual or artistic integrity and acuity, a simple test is available. It has to be supplemented with others, but it’s useful. If in any context you can tell that someone is responding to a set of ideas or a work differently from how he otherwise would have on the basis of who produced it, you know...

October 18, 2014

The power of indoctrination is shown by the fact that most people don’t consider themselves radical leftists, socialists, or anarchists. The way they act shows that basically they are, only they don’t know it. They think that authority not only isn’t self-justifying (to quote Chomsky’s definition of anarchism) but is often or usually unjust, and merely has to be tolerated because...

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