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Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
5 months ago

Imagine being this age and proudly boasting of your Marxist bona fides. 100 million dead, and this guy is reminiscing about being a useful idiot 40 years ago.

N Satori
N Satori
5 months ago

Are the editors of UnHerd contemporary useful idiots? It won’t be long before we see Owen Jones, George Monbiot, Alistair Campbell, Polly Toynbee and other Guardianistas publishing here (to give the broadest spectrum of views of course). I guess the intelligentsia, the graduate classes, will ultimately lean to the Left – it’s just a question of how far. The craving to reorganise the world along more rational lines is in their DNA.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
5 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I agree, though that word ‘rational’ should probably be in sneer-marks.

N Satori
N Satori
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

It’s a relative term. Anyway, as I’ve said in the past, social engineers are like urban planners – they want to clear away everything traditional (ie. not rationally thought out) to make way for their brave new world peopled with new improved humans.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

As a mostly-liberal with deep respect for (some) tradition, I find that to be very aptly observed on your part. The idea(s) that a more rational way can be systematically, collectively imposed on our “unfortunate” lower-animal-nature, to a net social benefit, will probably never die.
“New and improved humans, now with: Objective Reasoning / Communism/ Logical Positivism /A.I. Interface”, etc. Might be best to acknowledge the creaturely side of our humanity, tweaking our imperfect institutions while bearing in mind that, in most cases, starting over from scratch could very well make things much worse.

Philip Clayton
Philip Clayton
5 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Yup, rationality is such a stupid idea.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

The superimposition of non-voluntary, Rational Systems on a pre-existing, largely inescapable Human Nature is a stupid idea, a stupid pattern of ideas that has racked up documented historical failures–pick your favorites.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

Reminds me of the late, dreadful Eric Hobsbawm, the darling of many a Quisling* soirée.

(* Hampstead, Islington and other salubrious parts of North London.)

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
5 months ago

I don’t think he was. I didn’t;t see any boasting there: more a wry awareness of a mis-spent decade or two.

Simon S
Simon S
5 months ago

Unkind. Terry can laugh at himself. Can you?

Philip Clayton
Philip Clayton
5 months ago

And capitalism never killed anyone did it? Ever heard of the First World War? Did you ever read a word of Marx? He got a lot wrong, but he also changed philosophy and economics and even economists who disagree still can’t explain why the tendency towards monopoly in capitalism is evident and obvious and also why monopoly is brilliant for us. Marx met some Russian ‘Marxists’ before he died and said: “If they are Marxists I’m not.” I imagine Jesus might have said something similar about quite a few ‘Christians’. Weber said “All sociology is an argument with the ghost of Marx.” Marxist concepts will still be debated long after we are dead and still discussed in the next couple of centuries. Just in the same way Plato, Aristotle, etc exercise human thought.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
5 months ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

Capitalism sure broke a lot of eggs, but at least we got the omelette. Where’s the Marxist omelette?

Philip Clayton
Philip Clayton
4 months ago
Reply to  Gary Taylor

Eh?? Do you not understand that Marx was a HUGE FAN OF CAPITALISM?Obviously not. I would wager a large sum that as soon as you see the name Marx, or the term Marxist, you salivate like one of Pavlov’s dogs and launch into a diatribe and have NEVER READ A WORD MARX WROTE. I won’t expect a response because you won’t have read a thing.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
5 months ago

You’d think the author would know about characters in Dostoyevsky’s novels, wouldn’t you? From the wikipedia entry for Demons:

The novel begins with the narrator’s affectionate but ironic description of Stepan Trofimovich’s character and early career. He had the beginnings of a career as a lecturer at the University, and for a short time was a prominent figure among the exponents of the ‘new ideas’ that were beginning to influence Russian cultural life. He claims that government officials viewed him as a dangerous thinker, forcing him out of academia and into exile in the provinces, but in reality, it was more likely that no one of note in the government even knew who he was.



David Giles
David Giles
5 months ago

Who on Earth would waste their time and their working life hacking Terry Eagleton’s phone?

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
5 months ago
Reply to  David Giles

Someone with a high boredom threshold. Perhaps MI5 use him for training recruits in the art of staying awake.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
5 months ago
Reply to  David Giles

Well, Special Branch and MI5 had to justify their budgets somehow – and there was a Cold War on.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

Thank you for reminding us that no institution has done more cumulative damage to the national security of this country than the University of Cambridge.

It should dissolved forthwith and the site cornered with a giant solar ‘farm’, rather like the rest of Cambridgeshire.

Peter B
Peter B
5 months ago

I think you’re forgetting all the scientific contributions that Cambridge made that were helpful to our national security – jet engines, computing, … . I blame the arts grads for letting the side down.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Indeed I had NOT forgotten the ‘scientific’ contribution Cambridge has made, and like your good self place ALL the blame on the Arts grads!

However it is worth considering that the greatest event in human history bar none, the English Industrial Revolution, owed virtually nothing to Oxbridge.

Almost without exception the original ‘industrial’ Titans were self educated men of very humble origins.

Peter B
Peter B
5 months ago

Agreed. If there were ever any “heroes of the revolution”, those are the men I’d name. I know, they were all white men. But we can’t change history just because it’s so inconvenient, can we ?
Funny how there was so little social mobility in the past, isn’t it ? How did Telford or Wolsey or Thomas Cromwell ever do it ?
I’d suggest the technological revolution, largely around Silicon Valley starting around the 1960s, is right up there. Afraid the heyday of that in the 60s to 80s was pretty much pale, stale white men once again. But much more diverse now.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

At least in the Western World from Ancient Greece onwards, men of talent, white or not, have always managed to ‘fight’ their way to the top.

Rather inspirational I have always thought.

Peter B
Peter B
5 months ago

A few women too. Joan of Arc, Margaret Thatcher, doubtless several more.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago

Amen.

Saul D
Saul D
5 months ago

Does anyone else find themselves reading Prof Eagleton’s articles in the voice of Jim Broadbent?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago

Well at least this contribution had some entertainment value.

Reading Eagleton’s usual guff reminds one of nothing more than the fellow he describes as resigning after listening to conversations with a seven year old for too.long.

Those noises he was hearing on the phoneline, and his reaction to them… might they be a pre-internet version of ‘click’bait?

Andrew Dean
Andrew Dean
5 months ago

Poor Terry, he so wants to be important.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
5 months ago

Are the phone clicks audible because the bug ers are sloppy or are they audible because they want you to hear clicks whether or not they are bugging you. Are the clicks a message in themselves.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

Precisely, in fact a form of false flattery easily accepted by narcissists and the like.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
5 months ago

Household Cavalry Officers are notoriously hopeless at ” signals”….Having said that, I never forget my signals instructor at Camberley Comprehensive, one Colour Sergeant Crisp, Royal Marines, on my signals test.. ” Right, Mr Smanger Terrnerr.. tune in this ere C42 radio…. pause… yer’ avent got an effin clue, ‘ ave yer serrr…. typical Foot Guard… pause, form ticked ” Right. eff off , serr… you’ve passed”……

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

Piccadilly Cowboys or Galloping Grocers, take your pick!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
5 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

To know for sure, you would need to learn the Morse code.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
5 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

managed that… Tango hotel alpha november kilo Sierra…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
5 months ago

actually no.. thats for Matelots.. I’m so thick, I confused it with the military alphabet.. or the italian Dott. Dash…

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
5 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

You may be right. Stupid as the cops are, the visit by the Special Branch ‘journalist’ must surely have been an effort at gentle intimidation. ‘We’re watching you. As if you didn’t know.’
There’s been a fair bit of that from Polis Scotland under the Sturgeon junta.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
5 months ago

This is the most coherent thing that Terry Eagleton has written for unherd so far.

Peter B
Peter B
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

But I pity the eavesdroppers who had to listen to him.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
5 months ago

Harry is of course not suing the intelligence services but the Mirror Group. All three main ‘services’ spying on us are now headed by Harry’s Dad. If this is a family squabble, then why is it being conducted in the public courts? Harry perhaps wants to avoid the thorny subject of the intelligence services because he is still hoping for a bit of pocket money from his Dad and protection from the military that is not afforded even to soldiers who don’t go around boasting about their body count.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
5 months ago

Utterly delusional. TE believes that he was important enough for someone to bother tapping his phone?

Dominic A
Dominic A
5 months ago

Unfortunately it is not delusional. I had a friend who was a teenaged hunt saboteur – got visited a few times by special branch. Such overreaches are very common, though thankfully in the West they’ll almost always amount to nothing.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
5 months ago

His point, it seems to me, is that much of Special Branch-MI5 was itself so hopelessly, pointlessly unimportant, it occupied itself surveilling someone as minor as him.
Never seen The Lives of Others? These pigState bureaucracies always metastasise, just as every brand of the Civil Service, NHS and Stonewall and Oxfam have done, and find themselves enough ‘work’ to justify ever-expanding budgets, staff and powers.
Communism is alive and well – and we in ‘the west’ are sliding right into it.

Simon S
Simon S
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Exactly. “Communism” as a concept has morphed far from its ideological aspiration to Equality into popular shorthand for a very, very real Totalitarianism in the hands of an unelected elite worshipping the altar of something they like to call Equity. Their Equity.

James Kirk
James Kirk
5 months ago

Typical naive leftist. If it’s true that he was a threat to national security in those days his home would have had microphones plumbed into the mains electric. Clicks on his house phone would have sent him running for public phones if he was up to anything. If he was so dodgy his handlers would have issued him with a scanning device. More likely he would never use the phone at all.
Probably somebody winding him up or doing some training “Look at the stupid lefty, boys.” He should read some John le Carré and blush with hindsight. And yes, I do know about these things.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
5 months ago

“My tutor never tried to recruit me, given that he was aware of my politics”

“The Manager never picked me to play centre back for England, given that he was aware of my politics (I’m square enough to like Maggie Thatcher), and it had nothing to do with the fact that I am in fact hopeless at football, as are all people of Indian descent”

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
5 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

You said it. Though actually, India stands at 101st out of 211 in the current FIFA rankings.

Dominic A
Dominic A
5 months ago

Maybe spooks want you to know, deniably, that they are watching you? Seems to me that might be a great way for them to ‘dampen fervour’ of those they deem to be at some, probably low risk of becoming an enemy of the state. Moreover, a silent tap is surely eminently achievable, and they’d know their taps make a click.

leculdesac suburbia
leculdesac suburbia
5 months ago

I naively assumed that my phone calls w/ a prominent anti-war activist (which were all about our personal lives or esoteric feminist philosophy) couldn’t _really_ have been bugged, though the constant clicks confused me. This was during the early Iraq invasion–and I’ll never forget as he was talking to me in the car driving past a nuclear facility how it went off the charts. That’s when it clicked, so to speak.

Ironically, those documents & transcripts are probably a kind of insurance now that I’m in the pesky heterodox camp. Maybe they’ll reduce my Gulag sentence for becoming a “domestic te*****t” by virtue of advocating online and via picket signs for women’s sex-based rights, for child protection, & for aggressive prosecution of recidivist criminals who’re the scourge of beleaguered Black communities, instead of spouting fourth wave anti-racist grift that’s killing Black people in the US at a rate not seen since the Atlantic passage.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
5 months ago

Very entertaining!

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
5 months ago

Amusing article, in which Eagleton proudly reveals that he consorted on close terms with a paedophile

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
5 months ago

And how do you know YOU haven’t?
Eagleton was unaware of the individual’s peccadilloes. Had he know, ISTM, it would have been pretty clear who the mole was.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Yes, ofc. But it does cast a darker shadow over the tawdry little Marxist group he speaks about with such pride, and the sort of people who might have been drawn to it.
There’s another article in UnHerd today about the history of paedophilia within the German Greens. And pushing every sexual boundary has long been a crusade of the Far Left

Simon S
Simon S
5 months ago

I seem to be in the minority here but Terry offers an endearing and there but for the grace of God enduring British ability to look his own and wider history wryly and humanely in the mirror. My only dispute is his spelling of Colombia. And my only regret that I wasn’t there for his talk at Eton. Floreat Etona!

Peter A
Peter A
5 months ago

.

Last edited 5 months ago by Peter A