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Against pragmatism

The vapid philosophy of modern politics

By Alex Worsnip  

Politicians, commentators, academics—everyone loves the word “pragmatic.” Tony Blair told us on his election in 1997 that what counts is not “outdated ideology” but “what works.” David Cameron famously wrote that he doesn’t “believe in ‘isms’” because “words like communism, socialism, capitalism and republicanism all conjure up one image in [his] mind: extremism.” Earlier this year, Nick Clegg eagerly urged a group of business leaders that the Liberal…

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