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Kenneth Minogue

Professor of political science at the London School of Economics, author of A Very Short Introduction to Politics, Nationalism, and Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology

Book by Kenneth Minogue
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A Very Short Introduction to Politics
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Sex is a relatively weak drive in primitive and poor communities, but it becomes explosive in rich and well-fed societies like our own. The history of the twentieth century has been a ceaseless struggle between inherited conventions which sought to limit sex and channel it, on the one hand, and the liberated impulse which many people found to be the most natural and rational thing, on the other. It is perhaps odd that sex is not usually advanced as a fundamental human right. The rhetoric in this case has always been the demand for equality, so that what began as marital rights (and therefore conditional) end up universalized. This has been how homosexual rights and sex for the disabled, for example, have moved out of the private realm into public concern. To universalize tends to destroy, and this has been the effect on marriage of universal sexuality.

Nov. 10, 1997 - from "ID Control" an essay published in National Review
The idea that politics can be understood by ranging all opinions along a single continuum is evidently a delusion of simple minds.

1986 - from an essay in the London Sunday Telegraph
Equality, like arsenic, has contradictory effects. In moderation a tonic, it becomes poisonous when indulged to excess. Equality is the basis of our law, and saturates our language and our manners to a degree far beyond any other civilisation. But to 'equalise' the material things people enjoy must involve severing all connection between human conduct on the one hand and material things on the other. ... Only the dead weight of a massively despotic power could sustain such equality. ... The notorious problem of ... egalitarian societies is that large numbers of their inhabitants want to bolt.

1988 - from his essay "The Preoccupation with Equality", published in Encounter No. 71
... nationalism provides an escape from triviality. Implicitly or explicitly, men suffering a social upheaval put to themselves the question: What is happening to us? The nationalist answer is clear: our nation is struggling to be born, it is fighting for independence against its enemies. This answer is never the whole truth, and sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with the truth at all. But that does not matter.

1967 - from Nationalism