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literature

Culture

The Conflicting Ideology Of Anthony Burgess

Anthony Burgess’ disturbing dystopia, A Clockwork Orange, has been lauded by liberals as exhibit A in how society is to blame for criminals. His thrill-seeking murderer Alex, upon being “cured” of his homicidal tendencies is abused by society when he re-surfaces into the real world. For him to “cope” with this criminal society, the process that cured him is reversed, and the reader is left with the impression that criminal tendencies are the only way to survive in society. But the writer behind this “we’re all to blame” novel was in fact a social conservative. Burgess desired a Catholic monarchy running the British government. According to him, these views affected his writing: ‘The novels I’ve written are really medieval Catholic in their thinking, and people don’t want that today.” Although claiming that Jesus used heaven as simply a “metaphor,” Burgess did note its possibilities as an actual place: “If it was suddenly revealed to me that the eschatology of my childhood was true, that there was a hell and… Keep Reading

Culture

When Diversity Politics Debase Our Books And Minds

Should we judge a book by the content of its pages or by its author’s skin color? Today’s cultural credo, informed by the politics of multiculturalism, demands the latter. High society and academia promote ‘diverse’ authors as an urgent redress for the dominance of straight, white men in the Western literary canon. No sane mind would deny the benefits of studying literature by meritorious authors belonging to varied demographics. But the project of diversification is less interested in encouraging talent, and more focused on redistributing social power, historically enjoyed by white males, to the others. Behind the facade of egalitarianism lies a deeply flawed understanding of how and why the traditional literary canon came into being. As Roger Scruton explains in his essay, “Rousseau and the Origins of Liberalism” (The New Criterion, 1998): The traditional curriculum existed because it contained an accumulation of social knowledge – knowledge of the human mind, the human character, and the human heart – whose utility is obvious to those who have studied it, but inconceivable to those who have not. Cultural elites and many educators fall in the latter category,… Keep Reading

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