Cloth $32; Paper $20
Edited by Zbigniew Janowski, 368 pages, 6 1?8” x 9 1/4”, introduction, footnotes, bibliography
My Correct Views on Everything
Very few academic philosophers can write about philosophy in a way that attracts the attention of those outside academia; even fewer can write with equal scholarly competence about something that transcends their narrow academic concerns; much less to have written about philosophy in such a way that it gave such a headache to Communist authorities or the leaders of the Western Left, as Leszek Kolakowski. In his title essay, “My Correct Views on Everything” (Kolakowski's famous rejoinder to E. P. Thompson's “Open Letter to L. Kolakowski”), the former Communist “High Priest” accounts for his apostasy from communism and explains why communism had to fail. Next, in a number of scholarly articles, he explains why communism assumed the pernicious form it had. There are two other sections, on Christianity and Liberal ideologies. Included are also two interviews with the author.
Far from believing that the author has “correct views on everything,” the reader is likely to be convinced that Kolakowski is right on more than one point. One's rejection of Marxist ideology does not have to lead, Kolakowski implicitly suggests, to the dismissal of the Marxist dream of a world without greed. Being critical of this or that item in the Church's politics should not have to make one reject Jesus's teaching. Finally, being concerned with liberalism's inability to generate moral values should not lead us past the compelling reasons to accept the liberal state as the only viable political alternative both to the follies of the movement in the twentieth century and the dangers of religious theocratic temptations.
What Kolakowski offers in his new collection of essays is, in short, a “catechism” for non-ideological Marxists, Catholic Christians, liberals and conservatives alike. Once again, Kolakowski offers his readers pleasure without equal.
Leszek Kolakowski is author of over thirty books, including four from St. Augustine's Press (The Two Eyes of Spinoza and Other Essays on Philosophers, Religion: If There Is No God..., Bergson, and Husserl and the Search for Certitude) as well as Main Currents of Marxism (Oxford), Modernity on Endless Trial (Chicago) andGod Owes Us Nothing (Chicago). He is the first recipient of the Library of Congress’s Kluge Prize for Human Sciences.