From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Raymond Aron (1905 – 1983) was a French philosopher and writer best known for his book The Opium of the Intellectuals (1955), the title of which inverts Karl Marx's claim that religion was the opium of the people.
Aron argues that in post-war France, Marxism was the opium of the intellectuals. In the book, Aron chastised French intellectuals for what he described as their harsh criticism of capitalism and democracy and their simultaneous defense of Marxist oppression, atrocities, and intolerance. Critic Roger Kimball suggests that Opium is "a seminal book of the twentieth century." Aron is also known for his lifelong friendship, sometimes fractious, with philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
He is also known for his 1973 book, The Imperial Republic: The United States and the World 1945-1973, which influenced Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger, among others.
Aron wrote extensively on a wide range of other topics. Citing the breadth and quality of Aron's writings, historian James R. Garland suggests, "Though he may be little known in America, Raymond Aron arguably stood as the preeminent example of French intellectualism for much of the twentieth century."
- D'une sainte famille à l'autre. Essai sur le marxisme imaginaire, Paris: Gallimard, 1969