≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 58 of historian Stephen Davies’s excellent 2019 book, The Wealth Explosion: The Nature and Origins of Modernity:

[T]here is a persistent set of criticisms of modernity that have been articulated by a wide range of thinkers and observers ever since the first faint intimations of the transformative shift getting under way. Indeed much of the cultural, social and political history of the last two hundred and fifty years consists of a set of reactions again that modern transformation, which seek either to resist it, to reverse it or (more commonly) to alter it in ways that will make it more compatible with traditional institutions and mores. Three persistent themes are that the modern world is impossible to sustain and will end in a crisis or systemic collapse, that it is impious and corruptive of true value, and that it is in some sense antithetical to what it is to be truly human.

DBx: The hostility to liberal modernity and its open, entrepreneurial, and dynamic markets is nothing new. People such as Patrick Deneen, Adrian Vermeule, Sohrab Ahmari, and Oren Cass – despite some real differences that separate one from the other – all sing today from a songbook that was written centuries ago. The songs are of fear of the unknown and of distrust of individuals liberated from the vice-grip of tradition and state authority. They praise the arrogant who propose to substitute their visions for that of an unfolding future unpredictable in its details. They lament the loss of an imaginary Eden. And all celebrate the prospect of using coercion to (attempt to) create here on earth a paradise in which every man, woman, and child will conform to the visions of these self-anointed prophets.

Next post:

Previous post: