Tag Archives: Philip Pilkington

Critics respond to “Nietzsche’s Marginal Children”

13 May

I’ve been traveling for several days, but in the last 24 hours, a bunch of people have responded, all critically, to my “Nietzsche’s Marginal Children.”  I just got back and have a bunch of teaching to do, so I haven’t had time to read them all and may not be able to get to them for a while. But I thought I’d post them here.  I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can.

Kevin Vallier, one of the sharpest libertarian theorists out there with whom I’ve argued in the past, has what seems on a very quick glance to be a thorough critique (not trying to suggest it’s not thorough; I just only had time to skim it) over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

From the left, Philip Pilkington, who did a great interview with me about my book, also delivers what seems to be a lengthy and thorough critique over at Naked Capitalism. (Same caveat as above.)

Brian Doherty, who wrote a great book on libertarianism and with whom I’ve disagreed before, agrees with Vallier over at Reason. Jordan Bloom, at The American Conservative, also agrees with Vallier.

Anyway, that’s it for now.  More soon, I hope.

Update (May 14, 1:30 pm)

I’m afraid it may take me a while before I can get to all this—end-of-the-semester grading, we’re moving, and a family trip are all coming up—but there have been more responses.

Jeremy Kessler writes at Dissent. Freddie DeBoer writes at his blog. Roderick Long snarks at his. Nick Gillepsie touches on things at Reason.

And over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, libertarian political theorist Jason Brennan calls for me to be purged from Crooked Timber, where I also blog. Because, you know, freedom.

Update (2:30 pm)

Samuel Goldman replies at The American Conservative.

Update (9:45 pm)

At Crooked Timber, Henry Farrell takes my argument in a different direction, focusing on the methodological innovation posed (and poses) for equilibrium theorists and how the Austrians filled that void.  And Doug Henwood interviews me about the article and The Reactionary Mind.

Update (May 16, 8 am)

I missed Rafael Khachaturian’s thoughts on all this, which came out last week. Some interesting stuff in there about Weber and Hobbes (though I’ve long thought the Hobbes as the theorist of an emerging bourgeoisie doesn’t make much sense, and that passage Rafael cites is complicated a host of countervailing passages that, as Keith Thomas pointed out many moons ago, suggest a more aristocratic conception of human beings driven by concerns re glory and honor).

Daniel Kuehn makes an interesting point about Deidre McCloskey that I hadn’t thought of and hope to follow up on.

Neville Morley, an ancient historian at Bristol, finds himself prompted by a fascinating chain of association to think Thucydides.

And if you’re not yet satiated, two more links here and here.

Update (May 19, 8 pm)

Another response, this one from one of my favorite up-and-coming historians Kurt Newman, writing at the US intellectual history blog.  Also quite critical.

Update (May 20, 10 am)

Two more interventions this morning. One, a sympathetic reconstruction of my basic argument from philosopher John Holbo, over at Crooked Timber. The other an elaboration of its implications for contemporary politics from polymath James Kwak.

Update (May 21, noon)

A response mostly to John Holbo’s response to me.

Update (May 22, 9 pm)

A useful corrective from economist David Ruccio. And philosopher Robin James has an interesting riff on Wagner, Nietzsche, biopolitics and neoliberalism. This line in particular was nice to read: “Corey Robin’s fabulous essay in The Nation has everyone talking about the relationship between Nietzsche and neoliberalism.”

Update (June 3, 9:30 am)

A business writer named Martin Hutchinson takes issue with me and Hayek.

Another prize! And other news of the blog and the book

5 Jan

Clio Awards 2011 - writerThe blog has won another award!  Cliopatra, the history blog at the History News Network, has awarded me its “Best Writer” award.  Here’s what the judges said:

Corey Robin’s new blog, CoreyRobin.com, has rapidly become a *tour de force*. Robin joins battle with contemporary issues by way of a deep engagement with the history of political thought. Although he is a passionate partisan of the left, he takes conservative thinkers seriously. Several of them have returned the favor, including Andrew Sullivan, who regularly uses Robin’s provocative posts as a launching pad for his own blogging, and Bruce Bartlett, who recently debated Robin at CoreyRobin.com. All that, and Robin’s words sparkle with a crafty combination of intelligence and wit. He is the quintessential public intellectual for the digital age.

Having majored in history as an undergraduate—my teachers included John Murrin, Lawrence Stone, Arno Mayer, Robert Darnton, James McPherson, and Reid Mitchell—and having always envied the ironic humanism of the historian’s craft (and wished we had more of it in political science, along with a greater sensitivity to time and historical context), I’m especially grateful to have won this recognition from the top blog in the historical profession.

This is the second prize this blog has won; the first was the 3 Quarks Daily 3rd prize (“Charm Quark”) for “best writing in politics and social science.”

More blog stuff

That Ron Paul post I wrote is getting a lot of attention and generating lots of discussion. Not only on the comments thread, which you should definitely check out, but on a Daily Kos post by David Mizner, the progressive writer and activist; in this Glenn Greenwald post; this Digby post; this rethink from Elias Isquith; and this acidulous—I’ve always wanted to use that word!—squib from Freddie DeBoer, whose blog you should also check out.  It’s also just been reposted at Al Jazeera English, where I suspect it will generate even more discussion.  And on Twitter, well, all hell has broken loose.  This is just one of the many tweets I received in response to the post: “your article is wrong on all accounts your a shill just regurgitating what the lame stream media keep feeding the Americ. public”.  There you go.


In addition to that appearance on “Up With Chris Hayes“—someone just alerted me to the eye roll, caught on tape at 16:20, that I did in response to the foolish claim of one of the conservative guests that Prussian aristocrats opposed Hitler—there’s a really good, if I do say so myself, two-part interview that Philip Pilkington did with me over at nakedcapitalism.com.  Part I is here, Part II is here. Thanks to Phil’s excellent questions, I manage to talk about some thing that aren’t in the book or that I haven’t discussed much in public: how I came to write the book, Burke’s thoughts on theater and costumes, the future of the GOP, and more.


Back in November, there was a mixed but generally positive review of the book in Times Higher Education. The reviewer—Joanna Bourke, a cultural historian (whose book on fear, in fact, I negatively reviewed in the New Statesman a long time ago)—said, “This little book will continue to spark controversy, but that is not the reason to read it: it is a witty, erudite and opinionated account of one of the most significant movements of our times.”

John Quiggin, an Australian economist who actually knows something about political theory, did a nice post on the book, on his blog and at Crooked Timber. Lots of comments on both.

There’s also Mark Lilla’s review in the New York Review of Books. As I said in a previous post, I’ll be responding in due course, so I won’t say anything here. But in the meantime, as one young intellectual historian put it on a blog, “Bashing Lilla’s review of Robin’s book seems to be the newest internet meme.” He’s not kidding. Political theorist Alex Gourevitch weighed in at Jacobin; Henry Farrell, a political scientist with a strong interest in theory, at Crooked Timber; and intellectual historian Andrew Hartman at U.S. Intellectual History. There’s also been some further commentary on—or inspired—by the review, positive and negative, from Ben Alpers, Andrew Sullivan, Daniel Larison, Matt Yglesias, 3 Quarks Daily, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose interesting post prompted this response from me.  According to intellectual historian Tim Lacy, “I’m wondering if Robin’s book won’t also become something of an instant classic. I say this because you don’t attract high-profile ire from the likes of Mark Lilla unless you hit a nerve.” Here’s hoping.

And last, some further mentions of the book, in passing, from Andrew Sullivan, and, more substantively, from Paul Rosenberg.


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