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Issac "Issacstone" (London UK)

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The Broken Compass: How British Politics lost its way
The Broken Compass: How British Politics lost its way
by Peter Hitchens
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.34

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disillusioned Compass: A journalist who sidesteps too frequently, 12 Oct 2010
Hitchens is good enough to be published, but is this a book really worth buying?. Instore is a good deal of Peter Hitchens look at 'leftism', which he never defines, Britains vainglorious culture which he wants to be even more monolithic than it was in the 40s and criticisms of any revolution in general. This book hasn't got sources or references so anything said must be examined.

What astonishes me is the fact that despite living in USSR for so long he hasn't produce any good journalism of Soviet repression- until, now of course (Was he too scared to print this in free and liberal English newspapers then?). He also dismisses the influence of Trotskyism in many European revolutions in which his brother, Christopher, reported and in many cases helped. If only he had the chance to talk to his brother he could have got involved.
He writes: Left-wingers were "strangely unmoved for decades by the anti- western, anti- Israeli terrorism of Fatah or Hamas". Similarly, I can't believe, liberals and conservatives, including Hitchens, are strangely unmoved for decades by the anti-eastern, anti-Palestinian terrorism of Israel and the United States.
Elsewhere, he is shocked to find that some people demonstrate against the church. ("One former altar boy deliberately dropped a consecrated communion wafer on the floor"!). The church's record until now is obviusly saintly. Obviously Hitchens cannot imagine a priest looking at women priests, frightened children or condoms in the wrong way.

The only problem he sees with British foreign policies is only with regards to the long dead Soviet Union. He addresses anyone British always as Mr.(Name) (this goes on for a bit) but not europeans or muslims. He talks politics in terms of left, right and centre as if it was some kind of car which is always steered at the nearest left corner. It seems as if Hitchens wants to be too intelligent for politics, always complaining against leftism, mostly of the easy sort. For him change can only come from above- the state or monarchy. The British state is to be respected around the world no matter what its foreign policies are. He became disillusioned with Trotskyism , now I think this extends to politics, secularism and multi-culturalism in general.

The Road to Serfdom (Routledge Classics)
The Road to Serfdom (Routledge Classics)
by F.A. Hayek
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.49

11 of 62 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Road to Nowhere, 20 Sep 2010
This 'classic' book of Hayek is a political book rather than an economic one. (If it was an economic one I wouldn't be writing this review). One of the ways Hayek makes his points is logically absurd at best. Heres a few examples. Since, socialism equals fascism therefore, Hayek writes authoritatively, socialism equals fascism. And he manages to do this by stripping socialism of all its meaning. (Historically socialism meant the public ownership of means of production and distribution, Hayek offers none). Hence Hayek uses the titles National socialism as if it were true.
Then there another classic Hayek way of thinking and such is the fallacy: X says most dictatorships precedes democracy, therefore all democracy leads to dictatorships. . No wonder than that right wingers are pleased by this.
And all this Hayek is able to do without historical examination. So you would surely agree that socialism has been successful in Republican Spain (1936) or the Kibbutz scene or that Soviet Union has never been socialist just like all its satellite states have never been democratic. It is a wonder he is called a 'philosopher'. Philosophers have the task ahead of them to solve problems rather than Hayek who absolutely absolves people of all solutions.
Comment Comments (20) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2014 11:24 AM BST

Hitch 22: A Memoir
Hitch 22: A Memoir
by Christopher Hitchens
Edition: Hardcover

38 of 101 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hate-22, 14 Sep 2010
This review is from: Hitch 22: A Memoir (Hardcover)
A post-Anglo-American, a post-socialist and the not-so-charming Christopher Hitchens sings litanies to himself in his new autobiography. Obviously Hitchens is a good writer and debater and if you are into this I would recommend 'Love, Poverty and War' rather than this.

The best chapters are the first two. Good excepts can be found in 'Something of Myself' but that's it. Much of the book is a doppelganger of Orwell essays. Read 'Such, such are the Joys' before you read Hitchens "Education" and "Cambridge". Read "The Lion and The Unicorn" and you'll see how even the stance is borrowed.

One thing missing in this book is his TV career. Most of the time, and this is how he made his entry in the American showbiz, is by talking about bipartisanship. Remember the countless times he would talk about the Clintons (calling them the "worst family"), Bush Junior and recently Obama, well now he doesn't mention any of this in this book. I think the reason for this is obvious enough, and he has given hints of these: the Democratic-Republican Parties are both right wing (unless you count the recent rhetoric of Obama). So instead of criticising this sham on FOX, CNN etc. he very much seizes this career opportunity and launches in dialectic.
Very different from Orwell who would never suck up to the right wing even if that means writing away his career.

There are other things that Orwell would never do either: Giving up socialism so easily. (Maybe Hitchens doesn't have the courage or resolve to carry them on, but that's a personal fault). A man of 60's, no doubt, Hitchens adds that he was also a rebel, but one never hears how he came across Socialism. Watching the poor? Inequality of wealth in Britain? Workers rights? No. All we hear is some library book, Oxfordian debates and his admiration of 'Che'. Not a word about imperialism and British Empire either, whereas on the only occasion Britain defended itself, WW2 and the Falklands War, you never cease to hear his admiration.

The War in Iraq has caused much more death and it has never been convincingly argued even by Hitchens. And nowhere is the 'reconstruction of Iraq' to be featured in this book, Iraq is a failed state as defined by the UN and ranking quite high- instead one hears admiration of the polymath Paul Wolfowitz (Perhaps, Hitchens does represent the devil pro bono). A lot was said and done against the left, how hateful he considered the anti-war movement and much more was said of the moral vision of Bush and the US Empire in this book that it is doubtful whether Hitchens quite understood what the left or the right stood for.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2012 10:08 PM BST

Essays (Penguin Modern Classics)
Essays (Penguin Modern Classics)
by George Orwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.34

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you missed the twentieth century, read: Orwell, 8 Aug 2010
Discovering Orwell is like finding a mine of gold, only it is intellectual honest. Although Orwell started as a novelist his political views dominated all his writings including these much illuminating essays. The published Essays are to be read, other than understanding Orwell's political views, for two good reasons which I can give here.

1- They were timely, a quarter of these essays were written and published on the eve of the 2WW. Some of them are clearly critical of the British and Russian left.
2- More than politicians Orwell was contemptuous of intellectuals, writers and poets during his time. You can expect to see scathing essays on Henry Miller, W.B. Yeats, H.G. Wells, Tolstoy, Kipling and many more.

Apart these two reasons there are autobiographical moments insofar as they tell us what Orwell despises. `Such, such were the Joys', `The Spike' and `How the poor die' tell us about his development as a modern writer, his contempt of `Snobbishness' in English private schools, Christian Orthodoxy, censorship etc etc.

Because of critical articles such as `The prevention of literature' and `Politics and the English language', one can see why most of his books are sincere and honest. As a writer he always thought that politics would sooner or later enter your writing either as a political threat (totalitarianism) or self censorship (ideology and `appetite for power') and we can see Orwell fighting and remaining well clear of this.

The first time you read Orwells works you see critical analysis of the twentieth century, that old political century which was responsible for so much death and misery among imperial states and their victims. But it is much more than that, socialism and democracy were home for Orwell and only though these aspect we can see the shallow absurdities of capitalism, communism and imperialism. Analysing the obvious details of society and power systems, Orwell tells us what we missed. What he did no other writer was able to do.

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