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DOWNLOAD â The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History õ The publication of The Dragons of Expectation inreaffirmed Robert Conquest s stature as a leading intellectual and one of the world s great humanists In the tradition of Isaiah Berlin s The Crooked Timber of Humanity and George Orwell s Essays, this book brilliantly traces how seductive ideas have come to corrupt modern minds to often disastrous effects In what Publishers Weekly called a frontal assault on the pieties of the left, Conquest masterfully examines how false nostrums have infected academia, politicians, and the public, showing how their reliance on isms and the destructive concepts of People, Nation, and Masses have resulted in a ruinous cycle of turbulence and war Including fresh analyses of Russia s October Revolution, World War II, and the Cold War, The Dragons of Expectation is one of the most important contributions to modern thought in recent years Telecommunication Systems this book brilliantly traces how seductive ideas have come to corrupt modern minds to often disastrous effects In what Publishers Weekly called a frontal assault on the pieties of the left The Poams Conquest masterfully examines how false nostrums have infected academia Archetypes of Thought politicians Virgin Exotica and the public Verbotene Mission (Kings & Fools showing how their reliance on isms and the destructive concepts of People Second Sight (The Admirals Elite, Nation Meine russische Schwiegermutter und andere Katastrophen and Masses have resulted in a ruinous cycle of turbulence and war Including fresh analyses of Russia s October Revolution Like Gravity World War II Gallaghers Choice (Gallagher, and the Cold War Outcast The Dragons of Expectation is one of the most important contributions to modern thought in recent years Started this but it wasn t what I expected was looking for. The Dragons of Expectation, subtitled Reality and Delusion in the Course of History, is a strange book Basically, it s a series of musings by the Sovietologist Robert Conquest, made toward the end of his life It ranges from the use of words, to the Cold War, to art and the humanities, all united by the general theme of human susceptibility to irrationality The resonant title, taken from Norse myth, refers to how ideas or ideologies, to use aprecise term lead to radical visions whi The Dragons of Expectation, subtitled Reality and Delusion in the Course of History, is a strange book Basically, it s a series of musings by the Sovietologist Robert Conquest, made toward the end of his life It ranges from the use of words, to the Cold War, to art and the humanities, all united by the general theme of human susceptibility to irrationality The resonant title, taken from Norse myth, refers to how ideas or ideologies, to use aprecise term lead to radical visions which generate expectations that can never be fulfilled, but which create chaos and destruction as their adherents attempt to force reality into conforming to their vision It s an interesting, if meandering, ride, though one that largely covers topics about which Conquest had written before But the book peaks with its title After reading the book, I still can t say what it was really about, and I don t feel like I ve learned anything at all.The book is divided into three major sections, each containing a series of loosely joined short essays Part I is titled Through Reefs and Riptides One frustration I had with this book is that it s not easy to parse out what topics Conquest intends to cover, and this problem starts at the very beginning It appears this section is meant to be organized around dispelling mind mists that have developed around much of modern discourse The primary mind mist is socialism and its variants, to include farther flung variants like Islamic terror, with the common denominator being an enmity to established thought and its institutions From an initial discussion on this, Conquest turns to a discussion of words, or as he puts it typically and floridly, Harpooning Some Word Whales Among targets here are uses, or misuses, of the words democracy, fascism, and totalitarian Conquest s objection is to language that is used without precision, or with deliberate attempt to obfuscate In this, of course, he follows Orwell, whom he cites repeatedly What Conquest does not note is that in Orwell s time, mendacity in language was common, but the traditional logical and rhetorical forms were observed, because if they had not been, the liars would have been ignored Even ten years ago, in 2005, when Conquest wrote this book, this was largely true.Unfortunately, in past ten years, corruption of language, together with its evil cousins, suppression of speech not desired by those in power, and irrationality masquerading as insight, have all reached a frenzy It s like going down a greased slide eventually gravity and momentum take over, finishing the trends that began tentatively not so long ago Conquest, though, did not live to see this, or to predict what comes next He seemed to think there was a way back Unfortunately, today, the real choices are either to retreat from engaging the Left, or to have hard men engage in a gutter struggle, hoping that once the serpents have been strangled by means fair or foul, men of equipoise and virtue will come forth to retire the hard men and rebuild a new polity.Or, on the other hand, are those the real choices Could our society be changed back to value rationality, precision in language, and freedom of speech Peaceful change of a modern society has been done before Conquest notes In the late nineteenth century, the English economist and socialist Sidney Webb wrote that to change opinion in England it would only be necessary to win over a few thousand key figures The Webbs, of course, were the founder of the Fabians, early socialists who achieved great success in this regard As Conquest notes, they wrote books, andimportantly, they sponsored the great Fabian efforts of conferences, summer schools, pamphlets andpermanent measures such as the founding of the London School of Economics The difference, though, is that it s easier to change public policy towards the Left First, those on the Left seek transcendence through political action in a way uncommon among conservatives They define the value of their life through their achievements, whereas conservatives tend to focus on home and hearth This is the same reason why Communists after the fall of Communism were left alone by the Right and frequently acceded to power and wealth while even minor functionaries in any fallen right wing government are always hounded by the Left across the globe for their entire lives The dragons of expectation seize the mind in a way that incremental improvement in the human condition and a focus on common, homely things can never do This gives them a vigor and staying power lacking on the Right Second, the modern Left never permits backsliding Any leftist success is viewed as permanent and is defended to the last gasp with all means available The Right lacks this tenacity and focus Thus, peaceful change of our society back to a rational, balanced society is unlikely, even if wealthy elites were to make such a project their focus and the few wealthy elites interested in conservative positions, such as the Koch brothers, are largely elitist conservatives, socially liberal andinterested in electing politicians than creating beneficial social change through changes in broad public opinion.In subsequent chapters in this section, Conquest attacks a range of targets, ranging from leftist elites What one finds too often is an educated class particularly but not only in Europe which is simply not aware of any general attitudes but its own to corporatism, to bureaucratic bloat and temperament There is a great emotional difference between I am doing a useful service and I am fulfilling a sublime mission , to the European Union Though the impact and coherence of much of this is reduced by the elliptical, musing nature of its presentation, a lot of it is prescient about today Conquest predicts exactly the current condition of the EU, as well as the multitudinous creeping deficiencies of the elitist classes And he ends this section with The downward slope, unless interrupted, can scarcely lead to anything but corporatism The only probably interruption would be due to a buildup of resentment against the system That is to say, this etatism may itself produce the catastrophe from which is purports to save us As of October 2016, this seems eerily prescient, though we ll see soon enough if the desirable catastrophe arrives.Part II, Horrible Examples, is a review of the Cold War, basically to again dispel myths Conquest disposed of decades before, and to note reasons for the ultimate Soviet collapse Here, again, there is a lot of opaque musing There s also an entire chapter devoted to attacking four people or things not obviously linked the historian C.P Snow Simone de Beauvoir John Kenneth Galbraith and CNN s show The Cold War No doubt each of these was an odious liar and Communist apologist And yes, this does fit into a discussion of the Cold War But still, it feels disjointed.Part III, Harp Song of the Humanities, covers, unsurprisingly, the humanitiesart than education Though what, in this context, is a harp song Maybe a reference to Kipling The general point seems to be that the humanities suffer in the modern world True enough, but there s nothing really notable here Following this is the Epilogue, a poem written by Conquest, which I frankly didn t understand This is followed by an Appendix solely devoted to citations of Conquest s own work, to prove that he, at least, foresaw the collapse of the Soviet system, against claims that nobody did A second Appendix provides a detailed organizational blueprint for an Anglosphere political system, a concept barely touched on in the main text One gets the impression that Conquest was allowed by his publisher and editor to simply write a book as he wanted, and he wanted to ramble So the book is disjointed, and that makes the book ultimately very unsatisfying Whoah Mr Conquest was a bit of a crank I thought The Harvest of Sorrow was very good and I might still read The Great Terror But, this will bump it down the list and will taint my reading. Awesome book for those interested in exploring the failure of socialism Conquest is a scholar and historian who has written extensively about the Soviet Union see The Great Terror Here he discusses the state of the world at the beginning of the twentieth century and speculates on where we re going The overriding theme is the evil of totalitarianism whether it be Nazism or Communism His warning is that we are in danger when we fall prey to ideologies that appear on the surface to be problem Awesome book for those interested in exploring the failure of socialism Conquest is a scholar and historian who has written extensively about the Soviet Union see The Great Terror Here he discusses the state of the world at the beginning of the twentieth century and speculates on where we re going The overriding theme is the evil of totalitarianism whether it be Nazism or Communism His warning is that we are in danger when we fall prey to ideologies that appear on the surface to be problem solving when in fact their nature and impact on culture can just as likely be corrosive