"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

"A free society is by definition a pluralistic society"

Wisdom from an often-overlooked scholar & writer of the middle-part of the 20th century:
Most Americans today accept it as an axiomatic truth that we live in a free society. I often wonder, however, how many of us realize that a free society is by definition a pluralistic society. A pluralistic society is one in which there are many different centers of authority, influence, and opinion, competing with one another, arguing with one another, trying by various means to expand their spheres of influence, and producing a great variety, richness, and animation. In such a society there is no single voice, government, cultural, ethical, religious, or social. There are many voices, each speaking from its point of view and striving to maintain itself in the general competition for belief and support. In direct contrast stands the monistic ideal of society, experienced by many millions of persons in other lands, which does have only one voice, and which works by many means toward effecting a unanimity of opinion, belief, and sentiment on all the issues of this life. That system bears the name totalitarian, and it is by now an obvious fact that these two are engaged in a gigantic rivalry to capture the imagination of the world.
- Richard M. Weaver (1910-1963), Responsible Rhetoric, reprinted in In Defense of Tradition: Collected Shorter Writings of Richard M. Weaver, 1929-1963, edited by Ted Smith III (Liberty Fund: 2000), pgs. 290-291.

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