11 November 2011
An Injury To One...
When I first started writing here I often tossed a quote from William Godwin below the header. Yet even with my many encouragements few, if any, of you not already familiar with the man's late 18th and early 19th century writing will have read all, or even most, of any one of his books. Too bad. North Americans, in particular, are loathe to read political philosophy written by anyone but a citizen from their own country, or an American, be they Canadian or Mexican; or if they do it is bound to be some authouritarian communist bullshit.
I have found and continue to find Godwin's political writing to be a handy guide to making my way through life. Life, whether we like it or not, is a brew of politics. I have not re-read his monumental "Enquiry Concerning Political Justice" for many years. I just read the many bits I have underlined over the years. Many such bits I have taken close to heart such as this from the section of the book devoted to the archaic practice of duelling.
"If courage have any intelligible nature, one of its principal fruits must be the daring to speak truth at all times, to all persons, and in every possible situation in which a well informed sense of duty may prescribe it."
Just so long as you do not agree with your old lady if she asks if the new pair of slacks she just bought make her ass look bigger than usual in them.
Here is another, apt I think, to our somewhat turbulent times.
"Force is an expedient the use of which is much to be deplored. It is contrary to the nature of the intellect, which cannot be improved but by conviction and persuasion. It corrupts the man who employs it, and the man upon whom it is employed."
Godwin speaks to both the authouritarian and the anti-authouritarian. Listen up, motherfuckers.