chapter  10
Commentary: “You’ve Got a Lot of Nerve”
ByMichael Sprinker
Pages 14

The crucial theoretical issue at stake in all the papers that comprise this chapter of Shakespeare Left and Right is the relationship between ideology and knowledge production. Richard Levin is surely correct to criticize the view that ideology goes all the way down for being either self-contradictory or self-defeating. As a substantive theory of history, Marxism stands or falls on the claim that human action is determined by the social conditions in which it is undertaken. Those conditions are in turn affected by human action. Marxism parses intentionality in a complex manner that neither denies human agency nor grants it unlimited power to determine its own destiny. Lyndon Johnson was right, of course, even if he was wrong about who would have the greatest appeal to the majority of those hearts and minds and about the best methods for securing their loyalty. He once opined that the Vietnam War would be won in the hearts and minds of Vietnamese people.