I leave you with this idea, as we see the headlight of Train #2011 appear far down the track, heading toward the station: a constitutional democracy is something of a learned discipline, not so different from the scientific method in some ways. It takes a certain habit of mind, a kind of intellectual persistence to sustain. There is nothing automatic about it. "Serious" people in our society often seem to discount the idea that a democracy such as ours can degenerate into some far less desirable form of polity, but such thinkers suffer from the fallacy known as the normative tendency of the factual. This fallacy inculcates the illusion that the social and political arrangements around us are in some sense permanent and indestructible.
December 31, 2010
December 30, 2010
It's that time of year when all serious writers, or even people like me, cast their eyes toward the future and make meaningless predictions about what is to come. Since no one, including me again, is likely ever to look at this blog to see if I was right, I proceed fearlessly.
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.