Lenin on freedom

Every now and then in my reading of Lenin’s collected works, I come across a passage that may well have been written this morning:

‘Freedom’ is a grand word, but under the banner of freedom for industry the most predatory wars were waged, under the banner of freedom of labour, the working people were robbed. The modern use of the term ‘freedom of criticism’ contains the same inherent falsehood. Those who are really convinced that they have made progress in critical scholarship wold not demand freedom for the new views to continue side by side with the old, but the substitution of the new views for the old. The cry heard today, ‘Long live freedom of criticism’, is too strongly reminiscent of the fable of the empty barrel. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 5, p. 355.

4 thoughts on “Lenin on freedom

    1. Just looking at some of the abuse handed out in the eighteenth century by Marx & co. We are way too nice to each other today it seems. What would he have said to John Kutsko and the SBL about the Sausagefestgate debacle, I wonder? Your use of the term “academic wankers” is appropriate, but Marx had such a rich vocabulary at his disposal. I’d have hated to be his target, but I’d love to have watched him dish it out; criticism as though it really meant something!

      1. One of my favourites is ‘As long as we were occupied with the polemic against the ailing article, it would have been wrong to interrupt him in his work of self-destruction’, but that is a rather polite one. We should should reinstate the terms ‘buffoon’ and ‘babboon’ as perfectly acceptable descriptions of an author in a book review.

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