pinker: the left critique


Pinker’s remarkable inversion of reality in portraying the post-World War II period as a “Long Peace,” with residual violence stemming from communist ideology and actions, points up the relevance of Chalmers Johnson’s comment that “When imperialist activities produce unmentionable outcomes,…then ideological thinking kicks in.”[34] It kicks in for Pinker with communist expansionism and U.S. “containment.” It also kicks in with his notion that communism, but not capitalism, was both “utopian” and “essentialist,” “submerge[ing] individuals into moralized categories,” and causing some of the worst atrocities of the modern period. (328-329) But weren’t the racism and anticommunism of the Western powers and in particular the United States “essentialist” ideologies in the Pinkerian sense, and wedded to the “full destructive might” of these powers? And didn’t these ideologies justify exterminations and massive ethnic cleansings of inferior and threatening peoples, replacing them with advanced peoples and cultures who put resources to a higher use? Weren’t Friedrich von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, and many other members of the Chicago School of Economics “free-market” ideologues?

more from Edward S Herman and David Peterson at ZNET here. (h/t Gary L. Olson).