21 October 2019

Adam Smith on "In a nation distracted by faction..."

"In a nation distracted by faction, there are, no doubt, always a few, though commonly but a very few, who preserve their judgment untainted by the general contagion. They seldom amount to more than, here and there, a solitary individual, without any influence, excluded, by his own candour, from the confidence of either party, and who, though he may be one of the wisest, is necessarily, upon that very account, one of the most insignificant men in the society. All such people are held in contempt and derision, frequently in detestation, by the furious zealots of both parties. A true party-man hates and despises candour; and, in reality, there is no vice which could so effectually disqualify him for the trade of a party-man as that single virtue. The real, revered, and impartial spectator, therefore, is, upon no occasion, at a greater distance than amidst the violence and rage of contending parties. To them, it may be said, that such a spectator scarce exists any where in the universe. [...] Of all the corrupters of moral sentiments, therefore, faction and fanaticism have always been by far the greatest."
Adam Smith Theory of Moral Sentiments 1759 Part III Chap. III end.

Further reading: Adam Smith Theory of Moral Sentiments
Michael Eldred  Social Ontology of Whoness.

12 October 2019

Positivism Pete

You are a hard man,
slammed the door shut.
Single-mindedly fixated on power,
with an unquenchable thirst for it,
you closed off any alternative path
— seemingly.

Your vassals are steadfastly loyal,
blindly loyal.
They applaud you for your efficiency,
your effectiveness,
your productiveness,
your practical mindedness,
your wealth of knowledge,
your endless progress.
They identify with you
as their Lord,
their God.

Is there yet a turning ahead?
Is there still a slither of light
from underneath the closed doorway?
A subtle difference of shade?

Who sees it?
Are they the wayward ones?
heading froward
on the path of progress?

You know how to clear them away,
ride over them.
You know how to seduce
with promises of power,
of status,
to keep your vassals loyal,
those vassals who delude themselves
that they are free.

But do the wayward ones
yet point the way forward
by walking fromward
to hazard a fresh start?

Do they find the key to reopen
the passage to freedom
you smugly thought
to have sealed off
once and for all?