Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia

For the last decade that the top of the chilly struggle, the realm used to be lulled right into a experience consumerist, globalized, peaceable destiny beckoned. the start of the twenty-first century has rudely disposed of such ideas—most evidently via 9/11and its aftermath. yet simply as destructive has been the increase within the West of a trust unmarried version of political habit becomes a global norm and that, if priceless, will probably be enforced at gunpoint.
 
In Black Mass, celebrated thinker and critic John grey explains how utopian beliefs have taken on a perilous importance within the palms of right-wing conservatives and spiritual zealots. He charts the heritage of utopianism, from the Reformation during the French Revolution and into the current. And so much  urgently, he describes how utopian politics have moved from the extremes of the political spectrum into mainstream politics, dominating the administrations of either George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and certainly coming to outline the political middle. faraway from having shaken off discredited ideology, grey indicates, we're greater than ever in its clutches. Black Mass is a very scary and hard paintings through one in all Britain’s top political thinkers.
John Gray is the writer of many seriously acclaimed books, together with Straw canine and Al Qaeda and What It potential to Be Modern. a standard contributor to The long island overview of Books, he's a professor of eu notion on the London university of Economics.
In the decade that the top of the chilly conflict, the realm used to be lulled right into a feel peaceable, consumerist, globalized destiny used to be forward. the start of the twenty-first century has rudely disposed of such ideas—most evidently via 11th of September and its aftermath. simply as harmful has been the increase within the West of a trust unmarried version of political habit turns into a global norm and that, if precious, it is going to be enforced at gunpoint.
 
In Black Mass, philosopher and critic John grey explains how utopian beliefs have taken on a perilous importance within the palms of right-wing conservatives and spiritual zealots. He charts the historical past of utopianism, from the Reformation throughout the French Revolution and into the present. He describes how utopian politics have moved from the extremes of the political spectrum into mainstream politics, dominating the administrations of either George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and coming to outline the political middle. grey means that we have now not shaken off discredited ideology, but we are greater than ever in its clutches.
"'Modern politics is a bankruptcy within the heritage of religion,' grey, a British thinker, insists during this outspoken assault on utopianism and the ‘faith-based violence’ it has encouraged. heritage, grey writes, bargains no new dawns or sharp breaks, and, from the French Revolution to the battle on terror, he's as severe of the humanist trust in development as of the ‘belligerent optimism’ of neoconservatives. Sketching the roots of utopianism, he emphasizes the similarities among doubtless disparate events: radical Islam, he indicates, may perhaps top be regarded as ‘Islamo-Jacobinism.’ Taking the Iraq conflict as an item lesson, he argues for an acknowledgment that the ‘local pieties of Atlantic democracy’ aren't the one method to govern. Gray’s writing has a bracing clarity."—The New Yorker
"'Modern politics is a bankruptcy within the historical past of religion,' grey, a British thinker, insists during this outspoken assault on utopianism and the ‘faith-based violence’ it has encouraged. historical past, grey writes, deals no new dawns or sharp breaks, and, from the French Revolution to the battle on terror, he's as serious of the humanist trust in development as of the ‘belligerent optimism’ of neoconservatives. Sketching the roots of utopianism, he emphasizes the similarities among possible disparate events: radical Islam, he indicates, may top be considered ‘Islamo-Jacobinism.’ Taking the Iraq struggle as an item lesson, he argues for an acknowledgment that the ‘local pieties of Atlantic democracy’ aren't the single method to govern. Gray’s writing has a bracing clarity." —The New Yorker

“Gray's Black Mass is a bit Molotov cocktail of a booklet, blowing up the kinds during which we often speak about issues just like the struggle in Iraq and the path of heritage. Any publication that herds Robespierre, Lenin, radical Islamists and neoconservatives into one conceptual corral does not lack for audacity. whereas grey covers loads of flooring, tracing millenarian considering from early Christianity to the current, he usually units his attractions at the American neoconservative undertaking to export free-market capitalism and liberal democracy—at the purpose of a gun if beneficial . . . the tale line of Black Mass goes like this: Christianity bequeathed to the West the assumption of apocalypse, a violent occasion in historical past that transforms every thing and remakes the realm. that concept wormed its method into our DNA, to be able to converse, and has been there ever on the grounds that . . . grey isn't the first to work out the Iraq warfare as rooted in a naive right-wing utopianism. what is amazing is the way in which he embeds current political tendencies in a bigger framework going again to the beginnings of Western tradition . . . [T]he e-book demanding situations and provokes. for many readers, i believe, it's going to inform them issues they did not know.” —Fritz Lanham, Houston Chronicle

"A limpidly argued and finely written synthesis of Gray's considering over the last decade or so for the reason that False Dawn, his very popular and influential learn of globalisation. it isn't a cheering paintings, to assert the least, and Gray's conclusions, notwithstanding by no means exaggerated or overstated, are bleak . . . but the suitable expression of even the bleakest truths is often invigorating, and any half-sensible reader will come clear of the booklet soberer or even, might be, wiser." —John Banville, The Guardian

"Gray is correct to scoff on the lost religion in growth propounded by means of Enlightenment philosophers . . . grey reminds us approximately extra old and honest myths, which anticipated that our reckless pursuit of information and tool could result in disaster." —Peter Conrad, The Observer

"When the modern pundits of the age of globalization are as forgotten as those that, within the run-up to global conflict I, envisioned globalization had rendered struggle out of date, John Gray's paintings will nonetheless subject. it really is without delay a reproof and an antidote to the reigning wishful pondering that makes Voltaire's Dr. Pangloss appear like a realist. Gray's paintings has regularly been approximately keeping apart truth and fantasy. In Black Mass, grey dissects the best of all political delusions--utopianism--and maps the way, opposed to all expectancies, it has migrated from left to correct, from communism to neo-conservatism. this is often that rarest of items, a necessary book." —David Rieff

“Seeing historical past as a revolutionary narrative, specially one with a utopian finishing, is a convention that has doomed previous civilizations and threatens our personal, argues grey. Having handled the concept that of human development in such past books as Al Qaeda and What It ability to Be Modern, the writer sees no cause to revise his middle trust: ‘Human

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It really is very unlikely to offer an entire account of the disinformation that surrounds the Iraq warfare. the entire tale is probably not identified for a few years, if ever. fifty two What should be performed is to demonstrate the perspective to fact – instantaneously hieratic and instrumental – that trained the most vital episodes of deception. those that engineered the Iraq warfare believed they knew the reality and in deceiving others have been basically selling it. yet their trust that they can decipher the hidden which means of occasions was once a myth, and so they may possibly have ended by means of being deceived themselves. This strategy can be obvious at paintings within the operations of a physique manage lower than the course of Abram Shulsky to provide intelligence aiding the choice to visit battle in Iraq. Shulsky have been a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee within the early Eighties and served within the Pentagon less than Richard Perle within the Reagan management. In 2002 he was once made head of the workplace of designated Plans (OSP), a Pentagon unit created by way of Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld and reporting to Bush’s under-secretary for defence Douglas Feith, a protégé of Richard Pipes and Richard Perle. a lot of what used to be performed during this place of work of targeted Plans is still vague. As George Packer, writer of an exhaustive account of the machinations best as much as the battle, has written, ‘for the workplace of certain Plans, secrecy used to be not just handy. one can even say that it used to be metaphysically valuable. ’53 Following Shulsky’s airtight tools, the OSP rejected proven systems for comparing intelligence and ‘stove-piped’ their very own model of occasions on to the White apartment. just like the B group the OSP had a distinct schedule that featured overriding and discrediting the intelligence supplied via the CIA and the safeguard Intelligence enterprise (DIA). The OSP grew to become the executive resource of claims approximately Saddam’s guns of mass destruction and hyperlinks with al-Qaeda that have been utilized by Bush to justify the assault on Iraq. partially as a result of feedback of its function within the conflict the unit was once renamed in July 2003, whilst it resumed its unique identify of Northern Gulf Affairs. (The OSP turns out to were granted one other rent on lifestyles. In mid-2006 an ‘Iranian Directorate’ used to be organize within the Pentagon that's run by means of a few OSP veterans together with the unit’s former director Abram Shulsky. round the similar time the ‘Iran table’ on the country division, which studies to the daughter of the vice-president Elizabeth Cheney, used to be elevated to job strength measurement. fifty four) The specified good points of the OSP have been its adherence to a view of the area set earlier than empirical inquiry, its heavy reliance on info supplied via Chalabi’s INC and its shut hyperlinks with the vice-president, Dick Cheney. fifty five The crucial end result was once to depart US coverage seriously reliant on unverified intelligence from INC resources. The INC produced Iraqi defectors who made huge claims approximately Saddam owning guns of mass destruction. those claims have been disputed by means of the CIA and conflicted with proof acquired from UN guns inspections; yet they have been used time and again through Cheney and president Bush to reinforce the case for battle until eventually the absence of WMD in Iraq may well now not be denied.

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