Back after a long gap

Posted by Tory Historian Sunday, November 07, 2010

Tory Historian is very apologetic: a combination of a bad cold and various other commitments produced a neglect of the most important thing, this blog. This cannot happen again.

For today, a quotation from Gertrude Himmelfarb's The Roads to Modernity, a telling comparison between the English and the French Enlightenments:
One historian [Ronald I. Boss] has described the philosophes' belief in the social utility of religion as a "paradox", a "contradiction", a "lag in their social thought" caused by their inability to create an organic, unitary conception of society based upon their secular beliefs. But there could be no such organic, unitary conception so long as the classes were divided, as the philosophes thought, by the chasm not only of poverty but, more crucially, of superstition and ignorance. For the British philosophers, that social chasm was bridged by the moral sense and common sense that were presumed to be innate to all people, in the lower classes as well as the upper. The philosophes, allowing the common people neither a moral sense nor a common sense that might approximate reason, consigned them, in effect, to a state of nature - a brutalized Hobessian, not a benign Rouseeauean, state of nature - where they could be controlled and pacified only by the sanctions and strictures of religion.
Much to be discerned from that comparison.


Powered by Blogger.




Blog Archive