Monday, January 19, 2009

Experimentation, Conservatism, Human Nature

Nothing in the previous post should be taken to exclude the viability of experimentation with new ways of life. Prudence doesn't rule it out. Conservatism doesn't rule it out. Human nature doesn't rule it out but, on the contrary, sanctions it as a treasure trove which invites us to plumb its depths.

Of course, prudence and conservatism lead one to be significantly cautious with such experimentation. Where one crosses the terrain from the merely imaginative and intrepid into the territory of the incautious, reckless and foolish need not concern us here. You'll know it when you see it, I hope. If not, you'll learn the hard way.

But while experimentation isn't ruled out, fetishism is. It is the clinging to a certain agenda of social change against compelling reasons derived by prudential inspection of history and human nature. Imagining a state of affairs which is perhaps happy in some respect, the zealot ignores the variety of ways in which it will be miserable and he presses on. Again and again. In our unhappiness, discontent, ingratitude, stupidity and ignorance, we follow him. Again and again.

Whereas the fetishist's rhetoric is the mere semblance of prudent deliberation, his agenda for social change is the mere semblance of true experimentation. He doesn't really experiment, because experiment has the goal of testing new ways against human nature in order to find new ways of attaining good lives in it. The fetishist fantasizes a new society which isn't really human in nature and in which he is the puppet master. Dont be fooled.