Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race, and Empire

Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race, and Empire

by Pankaj Mishra


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A wide-ranging, controversial collection of critical essays on the political mania plaguing the West by one of the most important public intellectuals of our time.

In America and in England, faltering economies at home and failed wars abroad have generated a political and intellectual hysteria. It is a derangement manifested in a number of ways: nostalgia for imperialism, xenophobic paranoia, and denunciations of an allegedly intolerant left. These symptoms can be found even among the most informed of Anglo-America.

In Bland Fanatics, Pankaj Mishra examines the politics and culture of this hysteria, challenging the dominant establishment discourses of our times. In essays that grapple with the meaning and content of Anglo-American liberalism and its relations with colonialism, the global South, Islam, and “humanitarian” war, Mishra confronts writers such as Jordan Peterson, Niall Ferguson, and Salman Rushdie. He describes the doubling down of an intelligentsia against a background of weakening Anglo-American hegemony, and he explores the commitments of Ta-Nehisi Coates and the ideological determinations of The Economist. These essays provide a vantage point from which to understand the current crisis and its deep origins.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374293314
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 450,687
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Pankaj Mishra is the author of From the Ruins of Empire, Age of Anger, and several other books. He is a columnist at Bloomberg View and writes regularly for The Guardian, the London Review of Books, and The New Yorker. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he lives in London.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Watch This Man 16

2 The Culture of Fear 32

3 The Religion of Whiteness 45

4 The Personal as Political 61

5 The Man of Fourteen Points 72

6 Bland Fanatics 87

7 The Age of the Crisis of Man 102

8 Free Markets and Social Darwinism in Murabai 114

9 The Lure of Fascist Mysticism 121

10 What Is Great About Ourselves 128

11 Why Do White People Like What I Write? 141

12 The Mask It Wears 158

13 The Final Religion 173

14 Bumbling Chumocrats 181

15 The Economist and Liberalism 186

16 England's Last Roar 200

Index 212

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