Communism and British Intellectuals

Communism and British Intellectuals

Communism and British Intellectuals

Communism and British Intellectuals

Excerpt

The limitations of this survey--apart from the defects of my own analysis and synthesis--are the limitations of "social science" with its abstraction of human experience. "Man" in social science tends to be less of a concrete individual of flesh and blood who feels, thinks, and acts, than an artifice that "behaves". If there is no escape from abstraction, at least some of its excesses can be avoided. But even if I have succeeded in this, what remains can at best be only an intimation, never a revelation, for the "ultimate explanation" of the appeal of communism is forever concealed from rational enquiry in the minds and hearts of many diverse individuals.

An important motive in my writing has been a continual concern with the problem of wisdom and the exercise of political power. If political philosophy is to be written in and for the present scientific age, such a problem will be of paramount consideration. In his approach to the human predicament the political philosopher will have to deal with the impact of science upon society and government, with the intellectual in politics, and with many related questions. I hope that I have been able to furnish a fraction of the grist for the mill of such philosophy.

The term "intellectual" has been employed in the following pages in a very unscientific fashion. It is, perhaps, a concept just as useful and meaningful as "class" and just as difficult to define precisely. The intellectuals whom I discuss are chiefly men of literature and science who have been articulate about man, society and nature, and who have left a written record of their thoughts. The expression, "communist intellectual" does not necessarily indicate a person who is or has been a member of the Communist Party, but may refer to anyone who over a period of some time has . . .

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