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Monday, 15 September 2008


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Ah yes, the mighty Kamm, with all the ponderous dignity of a brachiosaurus, magisterially blasting holocaust-deniers from the darker corners of the web, but curiously uncomfortable with arguments where one side might not obviously in the wrong... Will never take a hundred words where ten thousand may be used instead.

I know what you mean, 'H', but I think, on the whole, taken in the round, Oliver Kamm is, in the words of Sellars & Yeatman, "A Good Thing", especially as he combines in himself both characteristics of the Cavaliers and the Roundheads in being both "Wrong but Wromantic" as well as "Right and Repulsive"! One thing is for sure, whilst his judgments are often as misplaced as most people, you do need to be very, very sure of your facts before you take him on.

And, alas, who am I to accuse him of prolixity?!

On the whole, taken in the round, Oliver Kamm is puffed up, humourless, preposterosity. As for his much vaunted debating skills, I was struck after Johann Hari had entertainingly demolished the entire Kammite world-view, by Oliver's response: There is, Johann, no construction of the form "to be comprised of" in English: a quantity comprises its parts, or is composed of them; the parts do not comprise the whole. I know it will appear pedantic to raise the point...

'Larry', you should have been a second-hand car dealer, like me, because you would have made a mint! Hari did not "demolish the entire Kammite world-view" (honestly, guv, just one, little, old lady owner ...), and the sly inference behind your Kamm quote that Oliver was forced merely to resort to minor literary quibbles could not be more misleading (you'll get 85 to the gallon out of it, on my life!) as anyone will see who reads his long and very detailed counter-argument. Actually, Oliver's quibble was something of a compliment in that it shows how very carefully he read Hari's essay. It is also a warning that if you take him on you need to be very, very careful in what you write. I disagree with Oliver Kamm on many things, and indeed, I find much (but not all) of the intellectualising over foreign affairs tiresome and irrelevant, but for those interested in the 'war of ideas' I would urge them to read Hari's critique (link above in 'Larry's' comment) and Oliver's response.

Well, yes, Kamm doesn't seem like a bad chap all in all, on the side of the Angels and all that... worthy... wordy... well informed, yes, but quite capable of ignoring what doesn't suit him, like the influence of Rousseau on the French enlightenment - - although the duffster's comment survives, a number referring to Rousseau have mysteriously disappeared, if memory serves me right!

Thank you, 'H', it is always a somewhat nerve-wracking experience going back to re-read one's own comments but in this case, at least, I am not ashamed or embarrassed by what I wrote.

All this 'Kammeraderie' is provoking me to a post. I still haven't recovered from his breath-taking assertion a few months ago to the effect that the 1960s 'liberal' revolution in this country was wholly admirable in every respect, but it's such a large subject I don't quite know where to begin - still, his words are niggling away inside of me!

Oliver Kamm?!?! Joint cheerleader in chief with Brendan O'Neill for neoliberalism?




You three should date. You're perfect for each other.

In case you're wondering, that was 'little Willy' above who is about to be made a Doctor of Philosophy!

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