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Can polemics ever do good? Let's play devil's advocate.

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

1. Innovation or was it arm chair 'subversion, floppy touchy feely oppositionism without any personal sacrifice? Guess of whom I'm talking about? Let's try the structuralist and its off-spring debate, or pick out any mindless outcome from the 60's by over-intelligent people who should have known better - let's try existential marxist humanism etc. Let's splatter-gun like the pissed-off pre-second world war Left who felt that Foucault and his intellectual buddies cleaned-out the critique and the philosophy of Marxism by relativising it, whilst trying to do the opposite. Or let's empty some rounds on pissed off people trying to re-establish an enlightened view of individualist free market economy to rebuild infrastructure after world war 2's collateral damage. Does this stuff just remind you of twitter?

Question: Does Trump today polemicise more than the structuralist and post post post-structuralist argument to dessimate the 'Left'? What is the 'Left' today but a caged wild cat saved from extinction by its enemies only to be put in a political zoo to humiliate and degrade. Don't we queue-up to watch 'mealtime marxism?'

2. Just remember that it wasn't, it isn't, it won't be just the British, the Americans, the Russians, even Kenghis Khan who couldn't govern Afghanistan, but the Taliban too. It isn't a failed state it isn't a state at all. It has borders, it has an army, it has civilian's, it has an organized religion - that isn't the question. It cannot be conquered from outside it cannot be conquered inside, and therefore it cannot be governed, but it can be led. Therefore let us not accept that lawlessness is eternal in Afghanistan, because I believe that a permanent settlement can be had . But that requires a military and a political permanence that will never be definitive in the way that Western societies want. Every thing other than the Western model will always be incomprehensible to the West. But that's the point. We have to accept that the model for Afghanistan must by definition be indefinitive and unresolved in our terms. So let the agenda be set by conditions on the ground.

3. Brexit . Why does the EU treat the UK like the UK is coming out of the closet and abandoning its spouse and children for a same sex partner?

We understand the EU's problems with us leaving. We especially understand that there is some very real significance of Germany not having an Anglo-Saxon buddy whose cultural and linguistic roots are more compatible than those left to dominate the EU from the Med countries, or from the new arrivals from Eastern Europe as well.

Conclusion Polemics can often be written off as overbearing rhetoric or deliberately overlooked because of their piquancy. Or not ? You decide.

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