Thursday, June 29, 2006

Theories of history

Chris Dillow argues that Blair is operating with an essentially Marxist theory of history and concludes that, "in policy terms, there's more evidence that Blair is a Marxist than that he's a Christian."

Not only do I think Chris is on to something here, I'd argue that it is not just in policy terms - his rhetoric at times seems to explicitly identify morality as a function of being on the right side of history, rather than the New Testament. I'm thinking of his "Forces of conservatism" speech a few years ago. You know, the one that said the conservatives - they - had shot Martin Luther King, killed Bambi's mum and stuff. A vaguely chilling speech, I thought at the time.

Often he gives the impression that ethical living consists of recognising that everything is 'new' and that helping in the 'renewal' process is the duty of right-thinking people. In contrast, loving your neighbour seems to have slipped down the list of priorities somewhat.

Speaking of history, is it just me that is concerned at the refusal to defend not only works of history on the basis of free speech but the activity of being a historian itself? Is this, this and this indicative of the Marxist tendency to insist that history is a science rather than an art? Or are they drawing on an older heretic-hunting tradition? Could be both but they amount to much the same thing anyway - the refusal to see histiography as part of the general conversation of mankind. More on this later...

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