Equivocation and ambiguity are not always virtues

To be fair to Terry Eagleton, he’s perfectly capable of being entirely lucid and even (dare I say it) sensible. I leafed through The Eagelton Reader earlier today to find a sample – and it was not difficult. From an essay called ‘Deconstruction and Human Rights’:

Equivocation and ambiguity are not always moral virtues; and there seems no doubt that such finespun obliquity on issues of central political importance has done much to disillusion those erstwhile enthusiasts for deconstruction who somewhat gullibly credited its promissory note to deliver some political goods.

There you go. Clear as a bell.

Update: I shortened the quoted passage, to omit a swipe at Derrida that I almost didn’t include to begin with, but ended up including for the sake of offering some context. But Roger points out that it’s inaccurate – and I don’t agree with the point of it anyway (which seems to be that all writing ought to be politically useful in some way, or at least ought to be rebuked for not being), so out it goes. My main goal was just to be fair to Eagleton; and the passage is more elegant on its own anyway.

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