nd the least moderate part of his nation while it was in its least wise and least moderate mood, and at the same time to speak of wisdom and moderation. The biggest event of 1933 would seem to have proved, if such proof was necessary, that man cannot abandon the question of the good society, and that he cannot free himself from the responsibity for answering it by deferring to History or to any other power different from his own reason." [An Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ten Essays by Leo Strauss].

In other words:

Historicism: history is understood only as change and development. Change and development are all that count – they are the essence of being human. So, to be human is to be subject to history (i.e. subject to change and development).

If this is true then there cannot be a conception of the simply “best” life – all notions of “best” are relative to what the current situations are – all conceptions are mutable and hence relative.

Historicism claims that there are no abiding standards.

Historicism is contemptuous of the idea that there are permanent characteristics in humanity – including the distinction between the noble and the base.

Ahhhhh. On that happy note, then the Cohen brothers write a kick-ass funny movie featuring nihilists!

Posted by: Robert Light at October 9, 2002 06:17 PM

I simply took the piece as a heartfelt goodbye to a lot of friends. He's been through the mill and has taken a look around and can't stay with the old crowd anymore.

A lot of really decent people on the Left are waking up, Hitchins, The New Republic, and even the Observer came out and trashed Hillary Clinton BEFORE the election in New York. This movement will make room for an honest left in this country.

There is no way that real thinking people can condone the anti-Semitism articulated and endorsed by so many on the Left. I include blacks, too many in academia, and the radical Hispanics (MEChA??). And there is no moral equivalance between U.S. policy and policies of Nazis, radical Islam, Stalin, and Pol Pot. We have no choice but to say "good bye" to all our old friends and move on.

Posted by: Howard Veit at October 10, 2002 10:30 AM
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