Monday, July 4, 2011

Another quote for the 4th--sort of

"What he [Oakeshott] called 'rationalism' was any political doctrine that purported to apply to human beings as such.  Take Jefferson's famous remark about the self evident character of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness:  It is both the foundation of American civilization and also complete nonsense.  Even in its own time, it hardly referred to much south of the Mason-Dixon line.  If you had in those days used it as a conversational gambit with a Chinese mandarin, a Hindu, a tribesman in the Sahara, or anyone else outside one particular area of Western Christendom you would have been thought deranged.  That is still pretty much true."

Ken Minogue, review of Rationalism in Politics.

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