The Critical Shaw: On Politics
“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” —Bernard Shaw, 1903
Critical Shaw: Politics is a comprehensive selection of renowned Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate Bernard Shaw’s opinions on a wide range of political movements, ideologies, and events that helped shape the international landscape of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With unwavering conviction, and in many cases openly courting controversy and calumny, Shaw spoke his mind on the big “-isms” of his time: Socialism, Capitalism, Communism, and Fascism. He championed Socialism in its formative years, he condemned all combatants in the First World War, he berated America’s embrace of Capitalism, he praised Russia’s choice of Communism, he lauded Stalin, he rejected the notion that Hitler was responsible for the Second World War, and he scorned Democracy. Persistently provocative, sometimes outrageous, always the political iconoclast, Shaw's political convictions—as soapbox orator or world famous pundit—challenge us to face the political issues and dilemmas of our own time with similar rigor and integrity.
The Critical Shaw series brings together, in five volumes and from a wide range of sources, selections from Bernard Shaw’s voluminous writings on topics that exercised him for the whole of his professional career: Literature, Music, Politics, Religion, and Theater. The volumes are edited by leading Shaw scholars, and all include an introduction, a chronology of Shaw’s life and works, annotated texts, and a bibliography. The series editor is L.W. Conolly, literary adviser to the Shaw Estate and former president of the International Shaw Society.