Book Review: 'The Idiocy of Perfection' by Jesus Silva Herzog-Marquez

Source: Review Copy 

 Jesus Silva Herzog-Marquez/ Literal Publishing

"The Idiocy of Perfection" by Jesus Silva Herzog-Marquez (beautifully translated by Tanya Huntington) looks at philosophy in the 20th Century. He presents five essays that reveal the political rethinking of some of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century. Some of those thinkers include Carl Schmitt, Michael Oakeshott, Norberto Bobbio, Octavio Paz, and Isaiah Berlin.

Marquez himself is an influential person, which one reason is that he's a master essayists. So while it's interesting to read about these minds of the century, it's also interesting to read his own quips in the book too. In his introduction, he explains that basically, politics, as outlined by these authors, are one way of dealing with human imperfection. Each philosopher has been affected by politics one way or another.

With Carl Schmitt, his work "The Concept of the Political" was considered a response to the Marxist Theory of the class struggle. From his political views and how it's described, Marquez's explains that Schmitt was an anti-liberal republican. He was also a fan of Mussolini. You'll learn all that just by reading the first chapter.

Then you have Noberto Bobbio whose style of thinking inspired a school of thought in Turin. He was as Marquez described an "obsessive reader" of the great political thinkers. Bobbio himself said that he was a "pedantic reader of the classics." So it's tidbits like that, that make "The Idiocy of Perfection" an interesting and provocative read. It's not too long of a read either (around 200 pages), so it makes for a quick but everlasting read.

The book ends with a description of a quote about the gravely ill Octavio Paz. When Paz learned about the death of his friend Claude Roy, he quoted about his own illness. It was how he would become a glass of water and become matter.

So overall anyone who is interested in either (or both) philosophy and political science will enjoy reading a copy of "The Idiocy of Perfection," especially with our current political climate.