In Praise of …

Quotation of the Day: the Genealogy of Postmodernism

Though, these days, I am reminded more than ever of the fragility of our liberal values and of the fact that the history of mankind is not, for the most part, one of tranquility and liberty, I still find Deirdre McCloskey’s warning, more than a decade ago, a priceless advice for self-reflection;

[Critics of postmodernism think] that without a belief in transcendence we ‘would have no criteria of what counts as persuasive’. Huh? Come again? Why so? [They do] not say …. I say, Relax: the end of civilization is not near, and if there is a threat it comes from the barbarians already inside the gates, the modernists of Princeton or Pasadena.

What has come upon us is, perhaps, mostly due to our very own unshakable faith in modernism and a discipline deeply rooted in it; our unbreakable adherence to conviction, rather than persuasion and conversation.

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Quotation of the Day: the Man Versus the State

A proponent of minarchism can hardly find a better argument against assigning a random redistributive role to the state, as by Herbert Spencer, in The Man Versus the State.1 He writes,

the chief arguments that are urged against an established religion, may be used with equal force against an established charity. The dissenter submits, that no party has a right to compel him to contribute to the support of doctrines, which do not meet his approbation. The rate-payer may as reasonably argue, that no one is justified in forcing him to subscribe towards the maintenance of persons, whom he does not consider deserving of relief. The advocate of religious freedom, does not acknowledge the right of any council, or bishop, to choose for him what he shall believe, or what he shall reject. So the opponent of a poor law, does not acknowledge the right of any government, or commissioner, to choose for him who are worthy of his charity, and who are not. The dissenter from an established church, maintains that religion will always be more general, and more sincere, when the support of its ministry is not compulsory. The dissenter from a poor law, maintains that charity will always be more extensive, and more beneficial, when it is voluntary. The dissenter from an established church can demonstrate that the intended benefit of a state religion, will always be frustrated by the corruption which the system invariably produces. So the dissenter from a poor law, can show that the proposed advantages f state charity, will always be neutralized by the evils of pauperism, which necessarily follow in its train. The dissenter from an established church, objects that no man has a right to step in between him and his religion. So the dissenter from an established charity, objects that no man has a right to step in between him and the exercise of his religion.

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