Sunday, June 23, 2019

A prophet of sorts …

… Charles Reich, R.I.P. – American Greatness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In his classic book The Pursuit of the Millennium, the historian Norman Cohn noted that “at the core” of certain Medieval millenarian sects was the adept’s belief that “he had attained a perfection so absolute that he was incapable of sin. . . . Every impulse was experienced as a divine command.” Cohn also noted that, translated into political terms, the presumption of such “new knowledge” is a recipe for totalitarian arrogance. Hannah Arendt observed in The Origins of Totalitarianism that the claim to special insight is closely related to “totalitarian movements’ spurious claims to have abolished the separation between public and private life and to have restored a mysterious wholeness in man.”
I never read the book, and never bought the hype. But I’m not a joiner. Like Groucho, I wouldn’t join any club that would accept me as a member.

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