[lit-ideas] Re: The continuation of Realpolitik -- a counterfactual

  • From: "David Wright" <wright@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 20:58:57 -0500


I heartily support the notion of "'curbing'...done in the interests of
human potential", but I'll also freely admit to being something of a
fascist (read advocate of benevolent dictatorship).  After all, society
is, at its most fundamental level, a sacrificial offering of freedom in
exchange for the mutual, often sacred, security of the group.  I am torn
between the seemingly oppositional values of individual freedom and that
classic notion of the greater good.  Put simply, I'm not sure we have the
'right' to behave selfishly when the price of our actions is a denial of
the basic human needs of others

I am also uncertain that the sophisticated, old-money sort of elite
you're referencing ever truly existed.  The major difference between the
culture of old and that of the modern world is quantity.  Time was, we
had no vanity press, no National Library of Poetry, and no Harlequin
Romance.  Modern...folk-culture, if you will, has moved from intimacy to

In the good ol' days, an intelligent and savy individual could woo the
wilfully ignorant wealthy into patronizing their efforts.  Access to
education, such as that offered the old-world elite and the new-world
masses, promises no desirable result.  Rather, it has greatly interfered
with the potential for critical thought.

accentuating alliteration with astute and asinine acumen in my little
whackin' hut,

P.S.  I have great respect for educators, almost none for purely
professional teachers, though the two are not mutually exclusive, and the
former outweighs the latter.

  Eric wrote
  That makes sense if the curbing is done in the interests of human
  potential (reading books by Ott light versus viewing wall-sized TV,
  example). If libraries, museums, and universities are accessible by
  (as in Madison, Wisconsin) or on foot (as in NYC) curbing is great,
  though we cannot tell people what to do.

  On the other hand, I worry about "curbing" undertaken as a sort of
  fascist imperative, where the elite use ecological awareness as a
  for social engineering a new class of techno-peasants. After all,
  today's elite are not patrons like the Hapsburgs or the old WASP
  instead they are mostly parvenu vulgarians, latter-day Jay Fricks,
  people all-too-happy with a private island and a Wackenhut security

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