Martha Nussbaum In Dissent–Violence On The Left: Nandigram And The Communists Of West Bengal

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It’s a complicated tale of economic growth, leftism, the government likely having violated the principle of treating people as ends and not means to achieve that economic growth…acting brutally.

And as Nussbaum frames it:  it’s a tale of the anti-liberal communist/marxist left and the more liberal left.  The latter in this case has demonstrated real moral courage.

“HERE WE ARRIVE at an issue that lies at the heart of all the leftist political movements of the twentieth century: is solidarity itself a major political value or is the basic value that of justice to each and every person, treating each and every one as an end?

She takes Noam Chomsky to task for his continuing hubris:

“Not so admirable, by contrast, have been the statements of some leftists to the effect that one should not criticize one’s friends, that solidarity is more important than ethical correctness

…A particularly fatuous document of this kind was a letter authored by Noam Chomsky”

Chomsky’s nothing if not fatuous when it comes to politics.

In assessing the specific situation of West Bengal, we must distinguish between the government’s industrial strategy, which I, like Amartya Sen, believe to be generally correct and the means the government chose to implement it, which are appalling…”

In Nussbaum’s assessment, the government’s brutality may come out of Marxism itself:

“What led to this breakdown in governance? The seeds of catastrophe lie, no doubt, in the never-sufficiently-de-Stalinized background of this Party, always suspicious of democracy, always used to treating people as agents of class struggle”

Nussbaum concludes:

If the government returns to its arrogant ways, however, it will continue to need and deserve the criticism of fellow egalitarians, who must not allow solidarity to trump justice.”

Anyone who will put the principle of treating people as ends and not means is welcome.

So, where did Marx get his ideas, anyways?  Peter Singer discusses Hegel and Marx.

2 thoughts on “Martha Nussbaum In Dissent–Violence On The Left: Nandigram And The Communists Of West Bengal

  1. has chomsky ever said not to criticize one’s friends? Evers? Watch any talk of his, if he disagrees with a friend, he says it. It is probably disagrees a lot less with his friends on political matters than say, linguistics. Chomsky makes not attempt to avoid criticizing his friends if he genuinely disagrees with them. Jerry Fodor knows this only too well, but they remain friends.

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