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The Importance of Being Civil by John A. Hall

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CHAPTER 8

The Problem with Communism

There is a curiosity about communism. Normally, there is much to be said for Kierkegaard’s view that we live our life forward and understand it backward. This applies in many ways to communism, now that it has all but gone. But some of the intellectual tools hinting at why it was likely to fail were present before the communist regimes of the modern world were instituted at the end of the First World War. This, seen in the light of sociological theory and the historical record, is the initial concern of this chapter. The second half of the chapter uses the insight gained to comment on the character of communism and on the nature of its demise.

It is good to begin with Karl Marx’s utopian vision, so clearly ...

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