In Defense of Decadent Europe
Raymond Aron's "In Defense of Decadent Europe" was first conceived at a time of great uncertainty for the Western democracies. The postwar economic boom had been interrupted by "stagflation," while communist and socialist parties in Italy and France were powerful factors in Europe's political landscape. Aron's book has a threefold purpose: the analysis of the Soviet Russian regime and its Marxist-Leninist theoretical foundation; the detailed empirical comparison between liberal democracies and collectivist regimes of the East; and, above all, the exploration of what might be termed the "problem" of democracy the tendency of democratic regimes to undermine themselves unless checked in their most extreme tendencies.
Aron denounces the clash between democracy and the Marxist-Leninist mystification and explains how Marxism leads to Soviet-style ideology. The second part of the book constitutes a defense of liberal Europe. The author makes comparisons in terms of productivity, technical innovation, living standards, scientific progress, and human freedom. But Aron also notes there are important ways in which the West must put her house in order by cultivating authority in the church, in universities, in business, and even in the army. This paradox is conveyed by the title of the book, the juxtaposition of the words "In Defense of and Decadent Europe."
In the new introduction, Daniel Mahoney and Brian Anderson discuss the disenchanted conservative liberalism of Raymond Aron that set him apart. Among the topics they cover are: the challenge of ideocracy, the decadence of democracy, and Aron as a civic philosopher. "In Defense of Decadent Europe" combines ideological debate with economic and social analysis. Its thorough examination of Western freedom versus the Eastern communism of the recent past extends well beyond parochial debates into a basic vision of Western societies. The book will be compelling for historians, political scientists, economists, and philosophers.
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Europe mystified by MarxismLeninism
Marxs messianism and its misadventures
The major themes
The Marxism of the Second International
the present situation
Ideocracy Marxism as state ideology
The revolutionary sect
Imperialism without empire
Lenin monopolycapitalism and imperialism
Surplus value and exploitation the center and the periphery
The conquering West
The Third World in the world economy
NorthSouth dialogue and the myth of the new world economic order
The weapons of peace or Western aid to the USSR?
Europe its own victim
The function of ideology Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov
Scepticism and faith
Soviet societies and their distinctive features
Western Marxism or the Vulgate
Marxism as critique and as dogma
the Western belief in progress
The final balance sheet
Europe unaware of its own superiority
Socialist capital accumulation The ideas and the circumstances
War Communism and the NEP
The making of the Soviet model
The persistence of the model
The undiscoverable socialism
Western productivity inefficiency and the Police State
Inequality and the evolution of the régime
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
Social democracy and the nondoctrinal socialisms
No more miracles
Expansion inflation and the dollar
Crisis politics and living on credit
What monetary system?
The crisis continues
Selfdestruction by the liberal democracies?
The Western Communist parties
Communist collusion with the Christian Democrats in Italy
The Common Program of the Left
The British decline
Crisis of civilization?
authority in the institutions
License and repression Tocquevilles Law
Political and economic legitimacy
Crisis and creation
Two specters are haunting Europe freedom and the Red Army