Readers who have derived their ideas of Victorian Nonconformity and the middle-class Victorian home mainly from the novels and plays of left-wing writers of some fifty years ago, will be apt to jump to the conclusion that life in my grand-parents’ house was a drab and stuffy existence, punctuated by religious exercises, to which resentful and hypocritical children were driven by fanatical and gloomy parents. They had better dismiss that romantic rubbish from their minds at once.
C. D. Broad, ‘Autobiography’, in Paul A. Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of C. D. Broad, New York,1959, p. 10
T]he intellectual left is likely to be the prime beneficiary if the social sciences and the humanities can be rescued from residual Marxism and obscurantist postmodernism.
Peter Grosvenor, ‘Evolutionary Psychology and the Intellectual Left’, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 45, no. 3 (Summer, 2002), p. 446
For one thing, France does not have a civil-libertarian tradition of the Anglo-Saxon variety. For another thing, there simply is a totalitarian strain among large sements of the French intelligentisa. Marxism-Leninism and Stalinism, for example, were much more viable and significant doctrines among the French than in England or the United States. What’s called the Left, especially in France, has a large segment that is deeply authoritarian.
Carl Oglesby, Boston Magazine, December 1981, p. 130
[Henry] Spira has a knack for putting things plainly. When I asked him why he has spent more than half a century working for the causes I have mentioned, he said simply that he is on the side of the weak, not the powerful; of the oppressed, not the oppressor; of the ridden, not the rider. And he talks of the vast quantity of pain and suffering that exists in our universe, and of his desire to do something to reduce it. That, I think, is what the left is all about. There are many ways of being on the left, and Spira’s is only one of them, but what motivates him is essential to any genuine left. If we shrug our shoulders at the avoidable suffering of the weak and the poor, of those who are getting exploited and ripped off, or who simply do not have enough to sustain life at a decent level, we are not of the left. If we say that that is just the way the world is, and always will be, and there is nothing we can do about it, we are not part of the left. The left wants to do something about this situation.
Peter Singer, A Darwinian Left, New Haven, 1999, pp. 8-9
I confess that I’m an unabashed Old Leftist who never quite understood how deconstruction was supposed to help the working class. And I’m a stodgy old scientist who believes, naively, that there exists an external world, that there exist objective truths about that world, and that my job is to discover some of them.
Alan Sokal, ‘Transgressing the Boundaries: An Afterword’, in Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science, New York, 1998, p. 269
George Orwell once remarked that political thought, especially on the left, is a sort of masturbation fantasy in which the world of fact hardly matters. That’s true, unfortunately, and it’s part of the reason that our society lacks a genuine, responsible, serious left-wing movement.
Noam Chomsky, ‘The Politization of the University’, in Radical Priorities, Montréal, 1984, p. 200