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CHOICE Review of Fools Fruads and Firebrands.

In 1985, when most of these essays first appeared in print, Scruton was savaged by the generally leftist faculty at Birkbeck College, London, and that opposition in turn led to his leaving academia. Here Scruton thoroughly and fairly debunks the ostentation, obfuscation, and terrible writing and downright deceitfulness of much of postwar Marxist-inspired philosophy. For Scruton the culprits are mainly from France and Germany—beginning with Sartre and carrying through to Foucault, Habermas, Althusser, Lacan, Deleuze, Gramsci, and Said—and he carries the attack forward to Badiou and Žižek. Even Galbraith and Dworkin take a few hits. Scruton writes from the perspective of an old-school conservative. His sympathies are with the virtues of the countryside and historically rooted associations of every sort, from churches and the US Constitution to volunteer fire departments, brass bands, and the local Grange. His personal point of view could be called sentimental and perhaps myopic, but his arguments against his foes are substantial and deep.

--R. T. Lee, Trinity College (retired)

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