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A Short Guide to Reading Left

354 words [1]

At their best, leftist thinkers are unmatched in their ability to detect, explain, and belittle systems of power. Fundamentally, that is the goal of the left: to “deconstruct” hierarchies they find immoral, for one reason or another. On the whole, this is a negative, anti-civilizational impulse. As José Antonio Primo de Rivera said, the left, “at bottom aspires to destroy everything, even goodness.” 

However, in our increasingly complex world, with multiple, and sometimes contradictory, power structures sitting on top of and alongside one another, the left occasionally gets it right, so to speak. We do not live in a world of organic hierarchies, aristocratic civil societies, or Hobbesian states. We live in a dizzyingly multifaceted, bureaucratized, managerial, de-industrializing, overcrowded planet.

With so much going on, leftists are now and again proving quite useful in their examinations of many of the power structures that do us reactionaries no good either. Some things, as it turns out, should be deconstructed—especially in the current year. Their writings are valuable, and I encourage y’all to set aside your skepticism and dig into them.

On libertarians:

When Libertarians Go to Work [2],” by Corey Robin. Al Jazeera. April 10, 2012.

It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism! [3]” by Connor Kilpatrick. Exiled. July 31, 2012.

The Open-Borders ‘Liberaltarianism’ of the New Urban Elite [4],” by Michael Lind. National Review. September 15, 2016.

On the media:

Harsh Realm, Mr. Sulzberger! [5]” by Thomas Frank. The Baffler. March 1993.

What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream [6],” by Noam Chomsky. Z Magazine. October 1997.

The Hack List [7],” by Alex Pareene. Salon. Serialized throughout 2012 and 2013.

Seven Hundred Words of Garbage Indistinguishable From the Average Major Newspaper Column [8],” by Hamilton Nolan. Kinja. May 9, 2017.

On the petty prejudices of our liberal-managerial elite:

Burying the White Working Class [9],” by Connor Kilpatrick. Jacobin. May 13, 2016.

Twenty-First Century Victorians [10],” by Jason Tebbe. Jacobin. October 31, 2016.

Planet of Cops [11],” by Freddie de Boer. Medium. May 16, 2017.

On hipsters:

Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization [12],” by Douglas Haddow. Adbusters. July 29, 2008.

Caught in the Hipster Trap [13],” by Steve Kurutz. New York Times. September 15, 2013.

On the monied interest behind center-left political parties:

Democrats can’t occupy Wall Street [14],” by Michael Lind. Salon. October 11, 2011.

The Macron Phenomenon [15],” by Christakis Georgiou. Jacobin. April 6, 2017.