Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Hope to an End

“Democracy is a daring concept — a hope that we’ll be best governed if all of us participate in the act of government.” [1]

It is another example of how connotations and motivating factors usurp the rule of a word’s denotations, such that a clear appreciation of what is meant or proposed or entailed is obscured. Naturally a hope that we shall be governed best if such-and-such happens is not a form of government, let alone a good one; it is merely a hope to that end. A hope, so far as I know, cannot be a form of government, except in the apolitical sense that it can govern a man’s deeds to good or ill effect. Hoping may well be a motivating factor in bringing the concept of democracy to realisation, so far as that is possible, but it has nothing to do with the concept itself. Furthermore the word “democracy” does not denote goodness, nor does the fact itself entail it; such is a connotation which a man fancies without reason. That said, I entertain a hope — though I dare say I am not governed by it — that the quiet and seemingly-innocuous emptying of words of their denotative meanings in the heads of many will not go so far as to bring about terrible consequences for all. It may well denote a vain hope.

[1] Brian Eno, “A New Politics”, Comment is Free (The Guardian’s weblog), 8th July 2009.


dearieme said...

"Hope you can believe in."

Have I coined a new vacuity?

Malcolm Pollack said...

Well, on the bright side, D, soon we'll all be dead.

Malcolm Pollack said...

Do forgive me for that. Don't know what came over me.

Deogolwulf said...


"Hope you can believe in."

I suspect the Obama got there first.


"Well, on the bright side, D, soon we'll all be dead."

Certainly a better fate than a weekend in Blackpool.