Monday, July 8, 2024

Summing Things Up


Summing Things Up

Peter Schultz


                  There are a couple of ways of summing things up.


                  Our elites can’t rectify our problems or solve them because they don’t realize the problems are the results or our most cherished fundamental beliefs. Until that is realized, our elites will just “spin their wheels” or whirl around in vicious circles, with no way out.


                  Or: Our problems can’t be solved politically because it is not recognized that it is politics that lies at the roots of our problems. The political is always and everywhere problematic, including even healthy political orders such as great, long-established empires or public spirited, participatory republics. Plato’s Republic is riddled with problems it cannot solve, and Aristotle’s best regime is also riddled with problems it cannot solve. To think there is a final, ideal political alternative is one of our most cherished beliefs. 


                  This is the implication of Randolph Bourne’s assertion that “War is the health of the state.” In other words, for a state to be healthy, it is should be warlike, which if, of course, problematic. As problematic as is war. So, what kind of health does politics promise?


                  What is one of humanity’s most cherished beliefs if it isn’t that politics is capable of ameliorating or redeeming the human condition? But isn’t it clear that politics, e.g., in the form of nation states or Greek city states, is the source of our troubles? What if the people in Belfast or Dublin didn’t think of themselves as Brits or as Irish? What if they thought of themselves as fellow journeyers on an adventure to enjoy the beauty of the world, or just as lovers, rather than as political beings seeking to be good Brits or good Irish? Seems to me that would make for great improvements in the human condition.

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