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Bland Fanatics Reviews

Bland Fanatics by Pankaj Mishra

Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race and Empire

Pankaj Mishra

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Verso Books
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 28 Jul 2020
ISBN: 9781788737333

One of the most acclaimed essayists writing today on the political hysteria plaguing the West

3 stars out of 5
Kenan Malik
4 Aug 2020

"Pankaj Mishra’s insights are often valuable, but these essays on the arrogance of the west omit some key arguments"

What is missing in Bland Fanatics is any attempt to analyse liberalism in the round. Were there any historical gains from the emergence of liberalism? What, if anything, is worth saving from the liberal tradition? How should we assess the tension between Enlightenment ideals, from which many anti-colonial movements drew inspiration, and the practice of European colonialism that denied those ideals to the majority of people in the world? Such questions are ignored by Mishra.

There is much that is valuable in Mishra’s writings, opening up as they do new perspectives in the debate about liberalism and about the relationship between the west and the global south. It’s a pity that there is also much that obscures even as it illuminates.