‘I am happy to call myself a Bolshevik’

Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas answers spiked readers’ questions on the left, liberty, Mad Men and more.

Claire Fox

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Topics Politics

How did you travel from Bolshevism to right-wing libertarianism with such apparent ease?
Ian Townson

Claire Fox: I wouldn’t know, Ian, as this is not a journey that I have travelled. But it is certainly an accusation thrown my way. I do find it amusing that people can assume that because I am unapologetic about defending free speech, or opposing the state’s relentless intervention into people’s lives, that I am right-wing. How dispiriting that when the left accuse me of being a libertarian, it is meant to be an insult. And what a tragedy that left-wingers have been so negligent of freedom that the right is more closely associated with liberty today.

For me, Bolshevism was precisely a revolutionary struggle for freedom. I am happy to stand in that tradition. I have been reading a lot of Sartre, Camus and de Beauvoir again recently (for the IOI’s forthcoming Academy weekend – I am convening the literature strand of lectures). It is refreshing to enter into the dialogues of left-wing thinkers who make freedom and free will so core to their politics. Again, a tradition I am proud to embrace…

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