In a spectacular piece in Taki’s Magazine, Dalrymple addresses the issues raised in his friend Alexander Boot’s new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick. Absent an acceptance of human limitation usually provided by religion, Dalrymple says, politicians have come to believe that democratic election confers on them the authority to interfere in any aspect of life they deem in need of improvement.
One of the merits of Christianity at its best is that it reconciles the infinite greatness of man with his infinite littleness. On the one hand man is created in the image of God, and each and every individual is unique as an object of God’s love and concern; on the other, he is as nothing by comparison with his maker.
If you take away the second consideration, what you get is unlimited self-conceit.
…if a man has no inner sense of limitation, no mere constitution is going to restrain him…Where politics is the location of all virtue, politicians are the lightning conductors of all discontents.
The first consideration, the image of God, if I’m not wrong, is referring to the ontological condition of free will; power that necessitates responsibility, or ultimately accountability. Not sure the article implies otherwise, I guess the nub if the matter comes down to the following:
“The bad faith of all this is evident, for people demand such proofs only when they are behaving badly, never when they are behaving well.”
This is almost straight out of The Knife Went In.
Bad faith. As a consequence of the turmoil of the religious wars, Reformation, Thirty Years War, English civil war it is easy to see where Hobbes gets his theory of The State of Nature, nasty, brutish and short whereby in response to which he sought to devise an idea of sovereignty as impersonal, a covenant. The Leviathan – The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil. The Art of (some special sense of self determination) and Awe that previously was the province of a very personal God alone. Some hundred years later Adam Smith, I think, takes this process, or identification of such impersonal processes, forces, to the most crucial phase, or reckoning; The Invisible Hand.
However – as TD pointed out in the Oxford Union debate regarding socialism – (or at least I think was his point) however much a person may wish to contest, or denigrate, the nature of, well capitalism, i.e it being a kind of Ayn Rand anti-altruistic dystopia of butchers, bakers and brewer’s caring for little more than the bottom line, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith basically emphasises how for any such market driven economy, or nation, to thrive there has to be a considerable degree of good faith; a precondition, if you will.
But good faith? Huh, if you can’t measure it it doesn’t exist, at least not when it doesn’t suit me.
A very personal God, and his earthly divinely ordained (but seriously flawed) mortal representatives. Hobbes didn’t so much sought to devise the ‘idea’, he did devise at least that much, but anyway, hopefully some sort of interesting gist was discernible.