Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Ponderables from Spengler  

"Are Americans good enough to be Americans?":
The 'Faustian' alternative to 'classic' civilization really is no civilization at all. Goethe's tragedy remains the great modern epic. Faust has exhausted philosophy and science before signing up with Mephistopheles. At the end of his misadventures, his final hope is to live among a free people on free soil, on land reclaimed from the sea, an existence so precarious that it would rule out the cardinal sin of complacency. ... (One wonders if Goethe would have recognized his ideal in modern Israel.) ... America attempts to temper Faustian mutability with the Hebrew concept of divine sympathy for the downtrodden. Its success in this venture, however limited, has made it the world's only superpower.
Strip away all of Heidegger's word games, and his message reduces to this: If Socrates drank the hemlock to remain Athenian, what prevents me from supporting Hitler in order to remain German? Heidegger never apologized for his flagrant Nazism, to the well-deserved embarrassment of Hannah Arendt. ... America is not a philosophical proposition, one might say, but rather an existential choice of a different nature than Heidegger's Germany.
In a world of asymmetrical warfare, it is not so much America's manpower as her brains that appear overstretched. In general we pay too much attention to the Ancients, under the misguided influence of Machiavelli as transmitted by Leo Strauss. The great model for the 21st century, I believe, is not the barbarian invasions of the 4th century but the religions [sic] wars of the 16th.
Even when he writes smaller pieces like this reader Q&A, the intellect throws off sparks.

Regarding point the third: If the 21st century is going to be dominated by bloody life-and-death struggles within the Abrahamic tradition as the 16th was within Christendom, maybe the point isn't that Islam needs a Reformation so much as that it needs a Counter-Reformation; not Wittenburg, but Trent.

posted by Kelly | 11:14 AM link