Friday, January 23, 2009

Progress towards what?

A military in the service of a democracy is a dictatorship in defense of freedom. What holds the relationship together is not laws but trust. Trust is a sphere or a zone of ambiguity, not a rule. When rules are all that's left it's over. Liberals continue to argue over rules I think one of the things that disgusts me about this sort of debate, other than the productivist bias, is the thought that it's a debate over egalitarianism when the primary question is difference. But to liberals difference is secondary, so discussions of difference beggar the question of difference as discussions of freedom beggar the question of freedom. But freedom is more than the freedom to shop; and difference is foundational to democracy. Egalitarianism is secondary. If productivism is the model, and progress is the goal then of course there will be servants and masters. By that logic the most important questions—What are we producing? What do we value?—are already answered. The whole debate becomes an argument for vulgarity from vulgarity. But democracy is founded on freedom of inquiry, not progress; and the debate at CT is over the objective ideal of hemlines—above the knee? how far?— rather than the history of British fashion. The endless search for truth.

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