Janan Ganesh, Marx and Darwin: some observations by Political Reporter

Leadership is to politics what productivity is to economics: not quite the only thing that matters but almost. A party with a good frontman or woman can afford to get everything else wrong, and probably will not. Most other variables — policy, strategy, organisation — flow from the leader.

It is anti-intellectual to see politics like this. We are meant to read impersonal forces and historic inevitability into every election result; the current self-mutilation of Britain’s Labour party is supposedly an epiphenomenon of a pan-European crisis of the left.

The first two paragraphs are jaw dropping, as Mr. Ganesh is either channeling Hegel or extemporizing on some theme of Conservatism, in a heightened manic state: a deadline looms and too much coffee? The whole essay moves at the speed of a runaway train, whose engineer has suffered an aneurism in situ, and is slumped over the controls pushing the throttle to the maximum. The Perils of Pauline? The essay also has something of the serio-comic about it: the comedies of Max Sennett? In addition, the first two paragraphs are larded with political/intellectual cliches, recited as if they were received wisdom instead of a recitation of the prosaic.

Political Reporter


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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