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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Eric Voegelin on the Judicious Hooker on Puritans

'In order to start a movement moving, there must be in the first place somebody who has a "cause." From the context in Hooker it appears that the term "cause" was a of recent usage in politics and that probably lie the Puritans had invented this formidable weapon of the Gnostic revolutionaries. In order to advance his "cause," the man who has it will, "in the hearing of the multitude," indulge in severe criticisms of social evils in a particular in the conduct of the upper classes. Frequent repetition of the performance will induce the opinion among the hearers that the speakers must be men of singular integrity, zeal, and holiness, for only men who are singularly good can be so deeply offended by evil. The next will be the concentration of popular ill-will on the established government. This task can be psychologically performed by attributing all fault and corruption, as it exists in the world because of human frailty, to the action or inaction of the government. By such imputation of evil to a specific institution the speakers prove their wisdom to the multitude of men who by themselves would never have thought of such a connection; and at the same time they show the point that must be attacked if evil shall be removed from the world. After such preparation, the time will ripe for recommending a new form of government as the "sovereign remedy of all evils." For people who are "possessed with dislike and discontentment at things present" are crazed enough to "imagine that anything (the virtue whereof they hear recommend) would help them; but the most, which they have least tried."' -- The New Science of Politics

4 comments:

  1. scineram6:42 AM

    But, but, but the impossibility of anarchocapitalism is irrelevant! :S

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  2. Voegelin is spot on, of course. If people want to improve their own lives, they should ignore the government (to better focus on themselves); not attack it, or try to change it. It's just too bad they'll be nearly alone in this.

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  3. Anonymous4:49 PM

    One who wishes to improve his own life must not ignore the government, as it will certainly not ignore you.

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  4. That guy writes weird, or else Gene transcribes him weirdly.

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