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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic by a classical liberal, July 17 2006
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leftism Revisited: From De Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot (Hardcover)
The author was that rare breed of classical European liberal, a species now all but extinct. In this masterpiece he investigates the Leftist mindset, Leftism in history and in the foreign policy of the USA. Most important, the book provides a valuable description of Real versus False Liberalism.

Kuhnelt-Liddihn's aim was to reinforce the noble Western tradition of individual freedom that has been under assault for so many decades now, from so many sides. Not an easy read, the book can be quite exhausting in places as the author puts his vast knowledge of human thought to work in support of his great insight.

Under the Leftist Mind, he discusses certain good forms and bad forms of government as they manifest in the realm of politics, e.g. monarchy versus tyranny, aristocracy vs oligarchy and republic vs a democracy. In this section he also explores some 40 odd characteristics of the Leftist mind, like hatred of freedom, secular fanaticism and materialism.

In the section titled Leftism In History, Kuhnelt-Leddihn provides an awesome analysis of Leftist history with reference to the French Revolution, the birth of the USA, and various manifestations of collectivist movements like Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Fascism and Nazism. He considers the French Revolution as the most characteristic manifestation of Leftism.

The author then examines American foreign policy under Wilson and Roosevelt, the Vietnam War and the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Here he also talks about the fanatical nature of totalitarian ideologies that fills the void left by an imploding Christianity.

The passage on Liberalism, Real and False, reveals profound truths. Under Real Liberalism, he discusses the thinkers, the timeframe, the leaders, and attitudes towards religion. Adam Smith, de Tocqueville, Burke, Mises, Hayek, Lloyd George and Churchill are some of the names mentioned here.

Then he discusses False Liberalism, which is modern Leftism in the USA. He asks why the meaning of Liberal has undergone such a total inversion so that it now represents illiberal statism, and provides the answer. Leftists laid claim to the future, to terms like Progressive, whilst Conservatives tended to adhere to the status quo. He calls America's current version of liberalism "a boring mixture of modernity, mediocrity, mimicry and naiveté."

This thought-provoking book remains a classic and has grown in stature since it was first published.
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Leftism Revisited: From De Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot
Leftism Revisited: From De Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (Hardcover - Aug. 8 2005)
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