I have a letter in this week’s TLS accusing of John Gray of ‘modish cant’, for knocking liberalism.
John Gray suggests that there is a deep affinity between Communism and liberalism: both believe in progress, and so share ‘the hubris of modernity’ (Jan 4). This is modish cant. Liberalism might be defined as the belief that a certain sort of politics is preferable to tyranny and can keep it at bay (constitutionalism, respect for religious liberty and other related ‘rights’, democracy). You could call this a belief in progress, for it holds that we can progress beyond theocratic, autocratic, absolutist government. But to conflate this with the Communist dream of utopia is silly. Gray is so desirous to seem heroically undeceived by the consoling delusions of the rest of us that common sense goes out the window.