Monday, 22 October 2007

In Roepke's Reckoning

“I cannot here draw the portrait of the progress-minded modern who, in my reckoning, accounts for so much that is wrong in our world, but I can list a few of the things that attend him: the dissecting intellect, lacking wisdom and even common sense; the radicalism going in short relays from humanitarianism to bestiality; the nihilism of intellectuals who have lost hold of ultimate convictions and values and ceased to be true clercs; the relativism tolerating everything, including the most brutal intolerance; the egalitarianism that, presupposing an omnipotent state machinery, leads to extreme inequality in the most important respect, the distribution of power, and unleashes the soul-corroding forces of envy and jealousy; the grimace of an art called modern whose one achievement is to mirror our society’s inner disintergration. Who has seen these things needs no extraordinary illumination to know toward what they tend . . . and no one, seeing all that has been the work of men and not of blind forces, can come to any other conclusion than that men must take council with themselves and set their faces toward another way.”
Wilhelm Roepke, “The Economic Necessity of Freedom”, Modern Age, Vol.3:3, Summer 1959, pp.235-6.

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