liberté sécurité
January 2, 2016, 11:18 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags:

beauty born of danger
January 2, 2016, 11:11 pm
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: , ,

Beauty, liberty, and wisdom are born of danger, neglect, decay, fear, dirt, sloth, ruin, accident, uncertainty. Not of security, enterprise, perfection, strategy, planning, foresight. Death not money.

“The history of Paris teaches us that beauty is a by-product of danger, that liberty is at best a consequence of neglect, that wisdom is entwined with decay. Any Paris of the future that is neither a frozen artefact nor an inhabited holding company will perforce involve fear, dirt, sloth, ruin, and accident. It will entail the continual experience of uncertainty, because the only certainty is death.”

Luc Sante, The Other Paris

two liberties
May 21, 2014, 12:33 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: ,

Displaying 20140517_164633.jpgFreedom to be involved, and freedom to be left alone in a history that’s millennia old. While the second is how we describe ourselves, the first is the freedom that truly defines and animates us.

The standard source of the distinction between two senses of “liberty” is a speech in 1819 by the great political theorist Benjamin Constant. The first, “the liberty of the ancients,” consists in having a voice into the policies and representatives that govern us. The second, “the liberty of the moderns,” is the right to pursue our private interests free from state oversight or control. Though the liberty of moderns is more familiar to Americans, it is in fact the liberty of the ancients that provides the fundamental justification for the central political ideals of the American Democratic tradition. For example, we have the freedom of speech so that we can express our interests and political views in deliberations about policies and choice of representatives.

Is the United States a ‘Racial Democracy’? By JASON STANLEY and VESLA WEAVER

great life throb

Can you tie ideology to geography? Is Europe one thing and America another? Here’s an observation by D.H Lawrence that does. Regardless of the geography, surely some people – in the way they form themselves, and in the way they teach themselves to think – achieve freedom; while others merely the image of it.

Democracy in America was never the same as Liberty in Europe. In Europe Liberty was a great life-throb. But in America Democracy was always something anti-life. The greatest democrats, like Abraham Lincoln, had always a sacrificial, self-murdering note in their voices.  American Democracy was a form of self-murder, always. Or of murdering somebody else.

The love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.

Studies in Classic American Literature, D. H. Lawrence – notes on James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer