“It was through him that I learned to give form to my discontent,” said William Morris when speaking about John Ruskin.  With each passing day, I find it more and more imperative to give form to my own discontent; that is, to find the language, the community, the parameters in which to stand.  Below are a few excerpts which help to provide my own much needed sense of form:

“What I mean by Socialism is a condition of society in which there should neither be rich nor poor, neither master nor master’s man, neither idle nor overworked, neither brain-sick workers, nor heart-sick workers, in a word, in which all men would be living in equality of condition, and would manage their affairs unwastefully, and with the full consciousness that harm to one would mean harm to all – the realization at last of the meaning of the word COMMONWEALTH.”  William Morris.

From Terry Eagleton’s autobiography:

“The Christian gospel invites us to contemplate the reality of human history in the broken body of an executed political criminal.  The message this body proclaims, as the theologian Herbert McCabe puts it, is uncompromising: if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do you’ll be killed.  Here, then, is the pie in the sky, the opium of the people, the sentimental twaddle of salvation…This creed contrasts with the delusions of those who imagine the future will be pretty much like the present, only rather more so. ‘The present plus more options’, as someone remarked of postmodern pluralism.  Whether or not the future will be worse, it will certainly be hard to recognize.  The seriously bizarre idealist, those with their heads buried most obdurately in the sands, are the hard nose fantasist who live their lives as though the IMF, Clint Eastwood movies and chocolate chip cookies will still be up and running in 3,000 years time.  Compared to this crazed common sense, the hairiest, most wild-eyed apocalypticist looks like a tepid liberal.  Equally science-fictional is the belief that capitalism will finally get around to feeding the world.  If the political left had promulgated such a transparent absurdity for as long as its opponents have peddled this lie, it would have been howled down without mercy.”

John Gray’s Straw Dogs

“Today liberal humanism has the pervaisve power that was once possessed by revealed religion.  Humanists like to think they have a rational view of the world; but their core belief in progress is a superstition, further from the truth about the human animal than any of the world’s religions.  

Outside of science, progress is simply a myth.  In some this observation seems to have produced a moral panic.  Surely, they ask, no one can question the central article of faith of liberal societies?  Without it, will we not despair?  Like trembling Victorians terrified of losing their faith, these humanists cling to the moth-eaten brocade of progressive hope.  Today religious believers are more free-thinking.  Driven to the margins of a culture in which science claims authority over all of human knowledge, they have had to cultivate a capacity for doubt.  In contrast, secular believers — held fast by the conventional wisdom of the time — are in the grip of unexamined dogmas.”

John Milbank’s “Liberality versus Liberalism”

(From a concluding section on how to develop an alternative economy based partly upon distributist principles)…Does all this sound fantastic?  No, the fantastic is what we have: an economy that destroys life, babies, childhood, adventure, locality, beauty, the exotic, the erotic, people and planet itself.”

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