Battle of Ideas Readings

Battle Readings is a regularly updated compilation of articles, essays, and opinion pieces relevant to the themes of the Battle of Ideas.

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The Responsibility of Intellectuals
Noam Chomsky, New York Review of Books, 23 February 1963

Mill and Liberalism pages: introduction, xii, 28, 104, 117

Maurice Cowling, Cambridge University Press , 18 January 1963

Politics and the English Language
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it.
George Orwell, Horizon, 1 April 1946

Manifesto: Towards a Free Revolutionary Art
True art, which is not content to play variations on ready-made models but rather insists on expressing the inner needs of man and mankind in its time--true art is unable not to be revolutionary, not to aspire to a complete and radical reconstruction of society.
Andre Breton and Leon Trotsky, Generation Online, 1938

Every cook can govern.
A study of democracy in Ancient Greece, its meaning today
C. L. R. James, Correspondence, 18 January 1938

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
The transformation of the superstructure, which takes place far more slowly than that of the substructure, has taken more than half a century to manifest in all areas of culture the change in the conditions of production. Only today can it be indicated what form this has taken.
Walter Benjamin, Marxists.org, 1936

On the Shortness of Life
'The life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it.'
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Loeb Classical Library, 1932

Tradition and the Individual Talent
In English writing we seldom speak of tradition, though we occasionally apply its name in deploring its absence. We cannot refer to “the tradition” or to “a tradition”; at most, we employ the adjective in saying that the poetry of So-and-so is “traditional” or even “too traditional.”
T.S. Eliot, quotidiana.org, 1920

The Psychology of Advertising
Advertisements are sometimes spoken of as the nervous system of the business world ... As our nervous system is constructed to give us all the possible sensations from objects, so the advertisenent which is comparable to the nervous system must awaken in the reader as many different kinds of images as the object itself can excite
Walter D. Scott, The Atlantic, January 1904


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Sex in the brain: do men and women think differently?

"The rules of the game at The Battle of Ideas makes beating about the bush impossible. When you are given 5 minutes to make your point, you either say something essential, or you reveal that you have nothing really to say. This eliminates 'the unbearable lightness' of speculation that haunts public debate."
Albena Azmanova, social philosopher, political commentator and activist

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