Friday, June 20, 2008

Believing De Beauvoir



We object to the inquisitors who want to create faith and virtue from without; we object to all forms of fascism which seek to fashion the happiness of man from without; and also the paternalism which thinks that it has done something for man by prohibiting him from certain possibilities of temptation, whereas what is necessary is to give him reasons for resisting it. . .

Let the "enlightened elites" strive to change the situation of the child, the illiterate, the primitive crushed beneath his superstitions; that is one of their most urgent tasks; but in this very effort they must respect a freedom which, like theirs, is absolute.

They are always opposed, for example, to the extension of universal suffrage by adducing the incompetence of the masses, of women, of the natives in the colonies; but this forgetting that man always has to decide by himself in the darkness, that he must want beyond what he knows. If infinite knowledge were necessary (even supposing that it were conceivable), then the colonial administrator himself would not have the right to freedom; he is much further from perfect knowledge than the most backward savage is from him.

5 comments:

Darrin Stephens said...

They are always opposed, for example, to the extension of universal suffrage by adducing the incompetence of the masses, of women, of the natives in the colonies; but this forgetting that man always has to decide by himself in the darkness, that he must want beyond what he knows. If infinite knowledge were necessary (even supposing that it were conceivable), then the colonial administrator himself would not have the right to freedom; he is much further from perfect knowledge than the most backward savage is from him.

That is something I had to struggle with myself, for a long time... to be able to understand that infinite knowledge is not necessary, that we all have to decide in the dark. That does not mean we should choose without thinking... and I would expect others to do the same...

::incomplete thought ends here::

rman1iscool said...

I agree with the thoughts all the way to the point of the talk about democracy. I don't care about democracy. I am not owned by my fellow man, and I hope not vice versa.

It is true though, all men decide in the dark, and they lie to themselves to "know" that they are in the light. There is nothing more confident than the voice of a fool.

Day said...

I don't think democracy is about being owned by one's "fellow man."

We are all owned by each other to the extent that we live in a community, a society that has laws and roads and ideas about enforcement of private property and personal rights. Personally I'd rather that community be governed, as much as possible, by all of us rather than an "enlightened" few.

rman1iscool said...

Well, most people who like democracy do not think that.

I am a wee bit of an anarchist.

Day said...

What, in your perception, do most people who like democracy think?