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Just learned today of a French modern philosopher who rejected marxism and religion and became a promoter of freedom and possibly capitalism. His name is Jean Francoi Revel. The Wikipedia article on him is a bit thin. Curious if anyone knows more about him.

asked Nov 01 '12 at 09:38

John%20Hoffman's gravatar image

John Hoffman ♦
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edited Nov 01 '12 at 11:27

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
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The only book of Revel's that I have read is The Flight from Truth : The Reign of Deceit in the Age of Information which Thomas Sowell acknowledged as his inspiration for The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.

As the Wiki-page notes, Revel evolved from his Socialist roots in the French Resistance to an Enlightenment or Classical Liberal. Unlike the Trostkyist evolutionaries that were to buttress the neo-conservative movement, he ultimately evolved out of his embrace of state power.

Along the way, however, some of his advocacy operates from just such an embrace of government power, eg., the Humanist Manifesto II. He signed this shortly after his book, Without Marx or Jesus and it demonstrates that his was an evolutionary conversion rather than a revolutionary one.

The themes of his books are generally a comprehensive defense of the Enlightenment West, an incisive critique of the Left, including its totalitarian roots and impulses, and the feckless or complicit response of much of the Western political establishment in response to their inveterate enemies on both the domestic and international fronts.1 In fact, I think that the West's feeble response to the aggressive totalitarian philosophy of Islam would draw his censure in the same manner as it did when the West muddled along in their token opposition to the totalitarian regimes of the 2nd half of the 20th century.

I would consider Revel to be a fellow Classical Liberal of the von Mises or von Hayek type but with his areas of specialization to be in history, journalism, politics and culture rather than economics. I have most of his post-1970 books on my reading list and hope to get to them as time allows.

1How do I know this from only reading one book? In addition to other sources illustrating his points, Revel frequently cites his own work as examples of what he predicted and the outcomes that later occurred.

answered Nov 15 '12 at 09:12

c_andrew's gravatar image

c_andrew ♦
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edited Nov 15 '12 at 09:12

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Asked: Nov 01 '12 at 09:38

Seen: 744 times

Last updated: Nov 15 '12 at 09:12