Friday, August 01, 2008

More From Dawn to Decadence by Barzun

As I mentioned in an earlier post on criticism, I'm reading Jacques Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence. Here he is talking about Utopias, or as he spells them, Eutopias. Utopia is from Greek meaning "no place," while Eutopia means "good place." See if this describes the liberal worldview (or if you think it describes the conservative worldview, please comment and explain). From pages 124-125.
It is a paradox that in most Eutopias (Rabelais' is an exception) the common good is achieved by enforcing a uniformity of behavior that seem tighter than any that is felt in the bad societies. The better state aims at reliving the body of hunger and the mind of anxiety; it does not provide freedom for society...but only... from the privileges of the upper orders. ... But they also recognize that the magistrates must occasionally step in to prevent abuses, and at times one senses the presence of a dictator at the top to run all things right, an anticipation of the 18C Enlightened Despot.

The great argument used to sustain right conduct is" "Live according to Nature. Nature is never wrong..." life is in the hands of a ruling group. ...but these purely political rights do not cover civil whim or eccentricity, the violence of the bloody-minded, the vagaries of genius or of adolescence. Significantly, in none of our three Eutopians is there any mention of laughter.

Another blog I read has a lot of comments about how serious lefties are and they have no sense of humor. Everything is a crisis, in dire need of fixing. Lighten up people!

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