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In his seminal 1985 book Thinkers of the New Left, writer-academic Roger Scruton had analysed the grip left-wing ideologues have on intellectual discourse, with specific focus on front-ranking Marxist writers and philosophers. In Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (2015), Scruton revisits the issue, which retains as much contemporary relevance as ever.
Fundamental to the left's way of thinking is the linear order implied in its name. People who describe themselves as 'on the left' believe that political opinions and movements can be assembled from left to right, and that, to the extent that you are not on the left, to that extent you are on the right. At the same time, by a relentless campaign of intimidation, left-wing thinkers have sought to make it unacceptable to be on the right. As a rule they give no definition of what the 'right' consists in, nor do they explain why national socialists, fascists and economic liberals should all be included in the category. Nevertheless, they are clear about one thing. Once identified as right-wing you are beyond the pale of argument; your views are irrelevant, your character discredited, your presence in the world a mistake. You are not an opponent to be argued with, but a disease to be shunned. This has been my experience, as it has been the experience of all the dissidents I have known. If books by authors on the right are noticed by left-wing reviewers (and in the academic world left-wing reviewers are the norm) it is only in order to trash them.