On why we should go towards modernity, not escape from it


“ Modernity is an open-ended process that ends badly usually only when someone declares it complete (…) In response to the miseries brought by the bourgeois modernity of a globalized elite, the answer increasingly comes in shape of demagogues who would drag us back into the past, to the isolating languages of tribe and race; the modernity of a high-tech prison or a giant border wall (…) Nearly all the lights of modernist literature, whether fascists such as Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis or socialists such as Richard Wright and Muriel Rukeyser, felt that a grand transformation of society was not just possible, but that it was the only inevitable solution for the decay of liberalism. Whether or not we have modernist authors on the Left who are willing to lead the way, the crisis is the same: we will have modernism or barbarism ”

Benjamin Balthaser, ‘Modernism or Barbarism’, Jacobin Magazine


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