George Lichtheim (1912–1973) was a scholar of Marx and Marxism. Lichtheim was a regular contributor to The Review and a contributing editor of Commentary. His books include From Marx to Hegeland Europe in the Twentieth Century.

What Socialism Is and Is Not

Socialists are at a minimum committed to economic planning that goes counter to the operation of an economy in which private firms predominate and profits are distributed among shareholders and managers. A system of this kind necessarily perpetuates the class division between a wealthy minority and a propertyless majority. A …

Technocrats vs. Humanists

“An industrial society can only prosper if the workers understand the meaning of their task and are fully associated with the elaboration of all the decisions concerning them…for my own part I think, notably but not exclusively, of the Swedish example.” Thus M. Chaban-Delmas, France’s new Prime Minister, addressing the …

A New Twist in the Dialectic

Some two years ago a sympathetic observer of the Parisian intellectual scene, writing in the London Times Literary Supplement, drew attention to the recent rise to prominence of the group of theorists associated with Louis Althusser, a professional philosopher and the holder of a teaching post at the prestigious Ecole …

The Nouveau Frontier

When Le Défi Américain was published last year, it was immediately a bestseller all over Western Europe. One can see why. The subject it dealt with—America’s threatening technological hegemony—was important. The author was chief editor of an influential liberal weekly, L’Express. There was a ready-made audience in the shape of …

Reason and Revolution

The owl of Minerva spreads its wings when the shades of dusk are falling. Hegel’s celebrated aphorism has often been invoked to characterize the difference between his own contemplative bent and the activism of his rebellious disciples. Philosophy (it was said) was indeed backward-looking by its very nature. Hegel had …

Catching Up With History

Some months ago, in taking note rather too briefly of Mr. Roy Pierce’s valuable study, Contemporary French Political Thought (Oxford, 1966), the present reviewer felt constrained to remark that American and British writers rarely perceive what is most striking about France: the commitment of so many Frenchmen of all political …

Happy Birthday

Cast your mind back half a century ago, if you can, and try to recapture the mood—a mixture of bewilderment and exaltation—stirred in millions of people all over the world by the news from Petrograd (soon to be called Leningrad) in the late autumn of 1917. Then try to imagine …

East of Eden

The third round in the Arab-Israeli conflict is barely over, and here are two books dealing with the previous round: the Suez affair of 1956. Are they worth reading? The answer must be a qualified yes: heavily qualified in the case of Anthony Nutting, less so in relation to Hugh …

Not so Lost Causes

One of the surprises awaiting the perfidious Anglo-Saxon who crosses the Channel into Gaul (not to mention the Anglo-American who traverses the Atlantic) is that few people in France can be bothered to discuss political issues in economic terms. Whether it be East-West relations, European union, or the future of …

Home Away From Home

The anniversary season is upon us once more. Three years ago it was the outbreak of war in 1914 that furnished historians and essayists with a theme for reflections upon the course of the preceding half-century. Now it is the Russian Revolution in 1917, or rather its opening phase, for …

What Is History?

What is history about? What, to be more specific, is the so-called philosophy of history about? We know who invented the term: It was Voltaire who in 1765 wrote a pseudonymous tract on the subject (characteristically, to amuse a lady friend). But Voltaire, as was his habit, popularized a notion …

Absolute Beginners

Any reviewer foolhardy enough to tackle the four books here under consideration must at the outset resolve not to be deflected into competitive theorizing about their subject matter. He may have his own notions as to the probable course of events in what is known as the “third world” of …

The Way of the World

Every now and then, that overworked encomium “a major contribution” imposes itself upon the reviewer of a work on current affairs. In the case of Mr. Andrew Shonfield’s study of economic planning in the Western world since 1945, the author’s distinction is of help in overcoming one’s initial reluctance to …

Hitler & Company

Unlike its Communist rival, European Fascism has not hitherto been made the theme of notable philosophical investigations. There are some excellent historical studies of both the Italian and the German experience, but the philosophers have on the whole tended to subsume the topic, when they have concerned themselves with it …

Marxmanship

What happens to an idea when it takes on flesh and becomes a way of life? One may also ask: what happens to a movement with utopian aims when it comes to power and finds itself confronted with the ancient conundrums that have baffled political philosophers since the time of …

Restoring Hegel

If civilization is wiped out in a nuclear war between East and West, it is quite likely that Hegel will be among the few authors to survive the holocaust. His writings are currently being studied in places as far apart as Ghana and Cuba. He is part of the curriculum …

Misalliance

Next to organizing an alliance of nominally equal members, formulating its aims in convincing language is the most difficult test of statesmanship. In a sense of course both matters come to the same thing. Alliances after all are held together by shared beliefs as much as by anything else. Ideally …

Raymond Aron and the Liberal Tradition

French universities are notoriously short of space. If there is ever a student uprising similar to the recent one at Berkeley, it will be directed not against bans on political activity—no one in France would be insane enough to impose one—but against lack of classroom facilities. There are a hundred …

Beyond the Fringe

Anarchism, like Anabaptism, has become respectable. In its heyday the movement had a uniformly bad press, aside from being treated as dangerous by governments and police authorities. Now that it no longer exists—for in its pure form it died with the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s—its legendary founders benefit …