Bonus Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on January 2, 2015

in Civil Society

… is from Stanley Crouch, during an interview in episode 4 of Ken Burns’s marvelous 2001 documentary, Jazz:

Civilization can, to a certain extent, be reduced to one word: welcome.

Indeed.  The civilized human being welcomes all peaceful and productive people; he or she welcomes their ideas, welcomes their feedback, welcomes their goods and services, welcomes them.  The civilized human being, in so welcoming, need not – indeed, does not – embrace every particular idea, good, service, or individual.  (To be civilized does not mean being without judgment, taste, preferences, or discernment.)  But the civilized human being welcomes every peaceful person the opportunity to offer ideas, goods, services, and themselves to him or her and to others without regard to skin color, religious belief, sex, sexual taste, age, nationality, or any other irrelevancy.

The civilized human being understands that ‘localness’ in and of itself has no particular moral or economic merit.  Ditto for ‘the nation.’   Ditto for ‘the familiar.’

To be civilized is to reject the boundaries that are so admired, even demanded, by the stupid, the ignorant, the narrow-minded, the bigoted, and especially the power-mad.

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