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In America and in England, faltering economies at home and failed wars abroad have generated a political and intellectual hysteria. It is a derangement manifested in a number of ways: nostalgia for imperialism, xenophobic paranoia, and denunciations of an allegedly intolerant left. These symptoms can be found even among the most informed of Anglo-America.
In Bland Fanatics, Pankaj Mishra examines the politics and culture of this hysteria, challenging the dominant establishment discourses of our times. In essays that grapple with the meaning and content of Anglo-American liberalism and its relations with colonialism, the global South, Islam, and "humanitarian" war, Mishra confronts writers such as Jordan Peterson, Niall Ferguson, and Salman Rushdie. He describes the doubling down of an intelligentsia against a background of weakening Anglo-American hegemony, and he explores the commitments of Ta-Nehisi Coates and the ideological determinations of The Economist. These essays provide a vantage point from which to understand the current crisis and its deep origins.
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- Anonymous User
J’accuse: Liberal Democracy on Trial
Mishra writes with such passion that it makes one’s hair stand on end. Every word is like the blow of a hammer on an anvil that shouts out to the proponents of liberal democracy, ‘J’accuse!’ There is so much to explore in this book but no more than the vicious verbal assault on the preening Scottish, I wish I was American, historian Niall Ferguson. The relish that Mishra brings in tearing apart Ferguson is a little like watching a small boy pull apart a fly, leg by leg, then the wings pluck pluck, and then squishing the head between thumb and forefinger. My only complaint is that as far as I can tell he does not offer up any alternative or explain why competing philosophies have fared worse or disappeared altogether. Because it just may be that even though liberal democracy and its champions made many murderous mistakes, that at the core of liberal democracy the heart of fairness beats and this is why after all these years it still survives as the best way of organizing society. Marshal the forces of fairness. A must read, again and again. Whew!
- Mehran Asdigha
Historical Liberalism on deathbed
Great collection of essays. The depth and breath of this short book makes you go over it periodically. Pankaj historical memory & his amazing feel for the thieving Anglo American pretenders of liberty is too much!
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