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Yet despite this, what Tawney once called the 'oldest and toughest plutocracy in the world', 13 and ruler in its time of a world empire, is perceived as lacking 'any systematic major ideology', its 'hegemony' instead 'diffused in a miasma of commonplace prejudices and taboos'. 14 Saddled with such selfdeluding assumptions, it is simply not possible to make any sense 34 Against Socialist Illusion of our politics; indeed, any socialism founded ideologically upon them deserves to be defeated. For if the socialist alternative does, conversely, constitute a 'systematic major ideology'- of and for the working class in the bargain - it says little for it if mere 'commonplace prejudices and taboos' have triumphed for a century and a half over its persuasions.

But merely to reiterate, in conventional socialist fashion, that the right has shamelessly nailed the colours offreedom to its political mast, notwithstanding or because of the economic crisis of capital, no longer meets the case, or the political challenges socialism faces. Instead, socialists must fight first on the ground chosen by the right, and with its weapons. The right's version of the nature and purposes of individual freedom will not dissolve merely because of reflex moral objections to it, however worthy.

24 But in the face of this apparently profound assertion, who would be bold enough to insist that the real world has always been inhabited by precisely such 'demarcated beings with fixed boundaries between them', one of whom is the author of the proposition which denies it? Nevertheless, the negative quality which all such morally-impoverished left ideas have in common is clear; and it is one which has helped to disable even the libertarian socialist case against right-wing doctrines of 'market freedom'.

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