Tuesday, April 24, 2007

An interview with Jacques Barzun - audio from Liberty Fund

Quotes and comments;
- the interview (60 mins.) was conducted about the time 'From dawn to decadence' came out.
- I don't share Barzun's worldview, but I find him an interesting writer. (I recommend the above book highly.)

1. Barzun is good on why our academics favored the communist countries and collectivism in general. (They felt that society needed a large tyranny - the state - to counter the smaller tyrannies... ie. business, the church, etc.)

2. I guess we'd have to call Barzun the classic agnostic. (He doesn't seem to understand that the agnostic can only exist because others have definite beliefs. We can't all be agnostic :=) He also seems unaware that agnosticism is an absolute truth claim. ie. to claim there is no truth is to make an absolute truth claim.

3. The interviewer asks him, "is there no standard?" and Barzun apparently feels there isn't any. "Where are we going to get the standard?" he asks... as if this were utterly impossible.
"How can we then judge whether things are right or wrong?"
"We have to judge things by their consequences... by their fruits..."
(He wasn't too pleased when the interviewer pointed out we have to judge consequences by a standard.)



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