— I ‘m endlessly amused by this passage from Terry Eagleton’s new book, After Theory. (Taken from this spiked-online review.)
There is far too much change around, not too little. Whole ways of life are wiped out almost overnight. Men and women must scramble frantically to acquire new skills or be thrown on the scrapheap. Technology becomes monstrous in its infancy and monstrously swollen corporations threaten to implode. All that is solid – banks, pension schemes, anti-arms treaties, obese newspaper magnates – melts into air. Human identities are shucked off, tried on for size, tilted at a roguish angle and flamboyantly paraded along the catwalks of social life. In the midst of this perpetual agitation, one sound middle-aged reason for being a socialist is to take a breather.
Eagleton clearly avows what’s been long apparent: socialism is conservative philosophy for retirees. Socialism has always hidden within its breast a longing for stasis. What happens after the revolution? Nothing, really. It’s not a new thought, but its worth revisting the observation that socialism, in its extreme and adamant forms, is a vulgarly secularized Christianity. Socialist salvation is no less boring than Christian salvation. Heaven, whether among clouds and sunbeams, or straddling the rolling Volga, is a paradise of monotony. In the Sunday morning version, it’s all harp all the time as we gaze lovingly for eternity upon the creator’s unfathomable visage. In the Red version, we’re loosed from the chains of want, and free to amuse ourselves with dilettante pursuits, now painting landscapes, now sharpening our backhand, etc., not unlike residents of a money-drenched assisted living facility in Boca Raton. The problem with capitalism is that it’s… tiring. After Theory, there is, what? Golf?