What to focus on?
Day: September 29, 2022
Friday Poem-Emily Dickinson
A combination is
Of Crickets—Crows—and Retrospects
And a dissembling Breeze
That hints without assuming—
An Innuendo sear
That makes the Heart put up its Fun
And turn Philosopher.
Kenneth Minogue At The New Criterion: ‘The Self-Interested Society’
As originally posted ~ ten years ago now.
Thanks to a reader for the link. Deep but very readable. How universal is the desire for individual freedom?:
‘Some people take the view that we in the West are fortunate to enjoy freedom, because it is a universal human aspiration that has been commonly frustrated in most societies. This is one of the more pernicious illusions we entertain about human kind. Most people have never lived in free societies, nor exhibited any desire or capacity for freedom’
‘What most people seem to want, however, is to know exactly where they stand and to be secure in their understanding of their situation.’
Isn’t that last part a universal claim upon human nature?
He is arguing that it’s easy to mistake your experiences and ideas within our Western tradition for that of peoples everywhere.
Maybe you’ve traveled and experienced the tribal taboos and family/kin loyalties of smaller bands and ethnic groups. Maybe you’ve been up close to the transcendental submission of will in faith in Islam, uniting a patchwork of tribes and peoples under its claims with high honor ethic and a strong warrior tradition (the individual doesn’t choose whether to drink or have women work outside of the home). Maybe you’ve seen the caste system in India, or the authoritarian feudal landownership structure in Pakistan, or the ancient, imperial Chinese structure with a Han core, with a quite strong Communist party leadership structure.
What is unique about our traditions?
Towards the end of the essay:
‘The balance in our tradition between the rules we must respect because they are backed by the authority of law, and the free choice in the other elements of our life is one that free agents rightly will not wish to see disturbed.’
Food for thought.
Related On This Site: Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution
Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”…Race And Free Speech-From Volokh: ‘Philadelphia Mayor Suggests Magazine Article on Race Relations Isn’t Protected by the First Amendment’
..Repost-Roger Scruton In The American Spectator: The New Humanism…Ed West At The Telegraph: ‘Conservatives, Depressing Everyone Since 500BC’
Can you maintain the virtues of religion without the church…of England?: From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”…
A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”
Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’