Lucien Goldmann, a French Marxist philosopher, propounds a fascinating analogy which leads to the suggestion that capitalism is a hero in a great world-historical tragedy.1 The notion is worth pursuing. Surely capitalism has many of the characteristics of a tragic hero. It enters the stage of history fully worthy of respect; it is the successor to feudalism. It gains stature through the action of its own rich inner resources. It changes the face of the world. It comes to rule the world in a way no other has ever ruled it. Its needs are filled by the rape of the world’s mineral resources. Morality, government and laws are ruthlessly brushed aside and changed to suit its whim. For all these reasons capitalism is worthy of our honour. For these reasons, too, it attracts our interest and wonder; it carries the mantle which the Greeks hung on their God-Men and the Christians on their Man-God. It is the primary object of awe in our culture.
KeywordsCommunist Party Party Work False Confession Stick Figure American Political Science
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Notes and References
- 1.L. Goldmann, The Hidden God: A Study of Tragic Vision in the Pensées of Pascal and the Tragedies of Racine (London, 1964) pp. 278 ff.Google Scholar
- 2.A. Koestler, Darkness at Noon (London, 1964; original ed. 1941) p. 226.Google Scholar
- 3.Cf. M. Merleau-Ponty, Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem, trans. with notes by John O’Neill (Boston, 1969; original French ed. 1947) p. xxxvii.Google Scholar
- 4.Ibid., p. 9.Google Scholar
- 5.Koestler, Darkness at Noon, p. 224.Google Scholar
- 6.I. Howe, Politics and the Novel (New York, 1957) pp. 19, 227–8.Google Scholar
- 7.See G. Steiner, The Death of Tragedy (London, 1961) pp. 31–3, 232.Google Scholar
- 8.Milton, Samson Agonistes, lines 80–2.Google Scholar
- 9.G. Lukács, The Historical Novel (Harmondsworth, 1969; originally published 1937) pp. 150 ff.; Steiner, The Death of Tragedy, pp. 113, 195–7.Google Scholar
- 10.See below, Chapters 10 and 11.Google Scholar
- 11.C. J. Friedrich and Z. K. Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy (London, 1956).Google Scholar
- 12.G. Lukács, Solzhenitsyn (London, 1969) p. 14.Google Scholar