Thursday, September 11, 2008

Talkin' 'bout a revolution

There are political and social fantasists who with fiery eloquence invite a revolutionary overturning of all social orders in the belief that the proudest temple of fair humanity will then at once rise up as though of its own accord. In these perilous dreams there is still an echo of Rousseau's superstition, which believes in a miraculous primeval but as it were buried goodness of human nature and ascribes all the blame for this burying to the institutions of culture in the form of society, state and education. The experiences of history have taught us, unfortunately, that every such revolution brings about the resurrection of the most savage energies in the shape of the long-buried frightfulness and excesses of the most remote ages.

I must confess to holding a naive admiration for Rousseau's 'superstition' about the nobility of the human being, but it is hard not to accept the validity of Nietzsche's point. That is why those who still preach ideas of revolution should be wondered about. It is the inability to learn that most disposes the human condition. We see the lessons of Robespierre, of Lenin, of Stalin, and still we seek revolution in the name of humanity.

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