The US administration and the other governments in the coalition, with their customary cynicism, exploited that goal, and the issue of weapons of mass destruction, to promote their shared vision of an international order that is safer for capitalism, implying, among other things, more liberal democracies, with more compliant governments; more "free" trade, in oil as in other commodities; and more effective joint action against terrorism. There is every reason to think that they are insincere about much of this programme, and that their definitions of such terms as "democracy" or "terrorism" differ from ours. There is no reason, however, to think that they are insincere about all of it ; the western "left" has no monopoly on self-deluding idealism ; and it makes more sense to assess each scene in this continuing drama on its own merits, by the light of the doctrine of the lesser evil, than to either buy into the whole deal or reject it out of hand simply because it isn't revolutionary socialism. Given the widespread popularity of capitalism and the vanishingly small support for socialism in the contemporary world, it would be stupid to expect anything more radical. On the other hand, as long as we are to be ruled by capitalist states, which would you rather be ruled by: a coalition of liberal democracies that pay at least lipservice to free speech, or any number of ruthless genocidal dictatorships that want to revive the worst aspects of the Middle Ages (and we don't mean folk songs or William Morris wallpapers)?It could just as easily have said something like :
There is every reason to think that Marxists are insincere about much of this programme, and that their definitions of such terms as "democracy" or "terrorism" differ from ours. There is no reason, however, to think that they are insincere about all of it ; the western "Right" has no monopoly on self-deluding idealism ; and it makes more sense to assess each scene in this continuing drama on its own merits, by the light of the doctrine of the lesser evil, than to either buy into the whole deal or reject it out of hand simply because it isn't Free-Market Capitalism.There are about a million things wrong with unrestrained Capitalism. You can easily miss many of them, but just a few weeks work providing "Meals on Wheels" or similar voluntary community service will thrust them right in your face. Yes, Laissez-Faire Capitalism may be - in fact from the evidence it is - the best way of providing personal freedom and greater economic benefits overall, but there are always exceptions, people who "fall through the cracks" and don't benefit from the greater wealth, and may even go backwards. And Monopolists who deliberately use the Free Market's mechanisms to make it less Free.
I've always thought that there were rather more than a Million things wrong with Marxism. The whole "Labour Theory of Value" is a self-evident crock, and for every rabid Capitalist Carnegie there was a Brezhnev, or Pol Pot. The difference between a scalded finger and being cut in half with a chainsaw. (Note : Scalded Fingers are Bad, I'm not saying they're good, just not comparable with bisection.). The Tancte de Sangria - the Taint of Blood - that prevented the East German Children of University graduates (unless they were Party Members) from being admitted to Uinversities so as to destroy the Bourguoisie reminded me of similar exclusions of those of non-Aristocratic Stock from the corridors of power, back in the 17th century and earlier.
But it appears that Gulags, Repression, and the Nomenklatura are no more an indivisible part of Marxism than Sweatshops and Ruthless Exploitation are indivisible from Capitalism. They're diseases that the philosophies are prone to, but only tendencies, not predestined certainties. And it appears that although I still differ, and differ radically, from the writers of the quoted article on the question of means, we are very close indeed when it comes to ends. Norman Geras isn't the only Rational Marxist.