There is nothing as deliciously entertaining as a thoroughly well-deserved bad review and this (via Norm) is a classic of the genre, directed at John Gray.
"Smugism" doesn't turn up as a separate entry in dictionaries of ideas, probably because it permeates so many other -isms. Yet it can be isolated and delineated. Consider it the jaunty declaration of large philosophical beliefs with a smack of magisterial certainty, and absence of argument, that's breathtaking.
I once read Straw Dogs, Gray's peculiar book written in a portentous faux-Nietzsche style and vaguely regretted it, though morbid curiosity compelled me to read on to the end. The book makes loopy grand generalisations - like atheism isn't possible in a pantheistic society, without ever mentioning why. It draws evidence from literature, which it uses as scientific fact. It quotes from highly selective and dodgy sources, rehashes cod behavioural psychology, etc., etc. His view of humanity as merely "an abstract term signifying a shifting current of genes" beautifully illustrates his neo-Malthusian misanthropy.
Whilst the book must have appealed to a type of millennial pessimism, I found a sinister undertone. Catastrophe is treated with a certain relish in Gray's writing and his distaste for humanity implies an authoritarian elitism (at one point he quotes John Aspinall). Carlin Romano gets Gray dead right when he says that "he's no friend of any progressive group that believes in action to achieve a better future".
Cynical misanthropy of the type that Gray peddles is the antithesis of hope and paralyses action. Good men need to read this review in case they are ever, in the face of evil, tempted by such arguments to do nothing.