What I am against is false optimism: the notion either that things have to go well, or else that they tend to, or else that the default condition of historical trajectories is characteristically beneficial in the long-run.
As citizens of a free society, we have a duty to look critically at our world. But if we think we know what is wrong, we must act upon that knowledge.
No one wants to live in a wheelchair unable to talk, only winking once for yes and twice for no. It’s perfectly reasonable that there will come a point where the balance of judgment of life over death swings the other way.
In the grip of a neurological disorder, I am fast losing control of words even as my relationship with the world has been reduced to them.
It would be suicide in the American academy to show too early an interest beyond your doctoral specialization: charges of everything from charlatanry to ambition would be levied and tenure denied. I’ve seen this first-hand.
You don’t have to be Jewish to understand the history of Europe in the 20th century, but it helps.
Nationalist, anti-European, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim public political figures, seem a worrying picture of a possible European future. We could still fall back into pre-Europe… and it worries me.
Healthcare reform is a paradigmatic case. It is self-evidently necessary and inevitable and has been on the agenda for 35 years, and the political class seems completely unable to respond to it.
We need to start talking about inequality again; we need to start talking about the inequities and unfairnesses and the injustices of an excessively divided society, divided by wealth, by opportunity, by outcome, by assets and so forth.
I started work on my first French history book in 1969; on ‘Socialism in Provence’ in 1974; and on the essays in Marxism and the French Left in 1978. Conversely, my first non-academic publication, a review in the ‘TLS’, did not come until the late 1980s, and it was not until 1993 that I published my first piece in the ‘New York Review.’