(The following is an extract from “Koba The Dread” by Martin Amis, which discusses, among other things, the bizarre tendency of Western intellectuals to become apologists for Communist dictatorships:)
“Hugh MacDiarmid: what a bastard” said my father in about 1972, referring to the man widely believed to be the greatest Scottish poet of the twentieth century. “He became a communist in 1956 – after Hungary.”
“And what’s his stuff like?” I asked.
“Oh, you know. Nothing but Marxist clichés interspersed with archaic ‘Scotch’ expletives.”
He thought for a moment. My memory exactly vouches for lines two and four, though it can’t do the same for lines one and three, where, for that matter, any old rubbish would have done.
He said something like:
Every political system is a superstructure over a determining socioeconomic base.
The principle of distribution according to need precludes the conversion of products into goods and their conversion into value.