Remembering Kenneth Minogue, philosopher and outsider

“Minogue was shouted down at public meetings,” Peter Oborne recalls in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, and, unlike other, more comfortable thinkers of the time — and despite having published more than ten books on politics — he was never invited on to television to share his views.

For Oborne — who knew Minogue personally — he was a conservative. However, I rather doubt that that’s a good description. Minogue was perhaps libertarian, but most of all he was against the system — the system which wraps itself up in the language of being anti-system.

Minogue’s intellectual career was launched with his book, The Liberal Mind. In his lesser-known, but quite brilliant Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology, Minogue looked at Marxism, political and religious “revelation”, and, briefly, even spirituality, where he invoked the Armenian esotericist G. I. Gurdjieff and his Russian student Ouspensky.


Minogue’s thesis seems to have launched from the base provided by Eric Voegelin, a philosopher who argued that totalitarian regimes had emerged, through time, from “Gnosticism.” But Minogue left Voegelin’s sensationalism, highly suspect scholarship and blame-shifting behind, to dissect and present what ideology actually is, and how secret, esoteric societies of the pre- and early modern era may in some way have presented a kind of proto-ideology.

Minogue criticized everything from nationalism to liberalism. His last book was controversially titled The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life. Agree with him or not, Minogue said what he thought. Hence the mainstream media ignored him, viewing him undoubtedly as a dangerous thinker. Minogue passed away at the age of 82 on June 28.

One Reply to “Remembering Kenneth Minogue, philosopher and outsider”

  1. Andreas VanDoren says: Reply

    Brilliant philosopher and brilliant mind. One of those few intellectuals, along with R. Aron and George Orwell, who did not sell their soul to the devil of collectivism and did not try to fit in.

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