The sovereign individual
Bill McClay has a nice extended meditation on some of the themes Peter L. brought up in this post. A sample:
The “progressive” view may seem coolly rational and unsentimental, the very picture of enlightened science. But its instrumental rationality actually operates in service to madness, to the most gaudily romantic and fantastical ideas of human selfhood. It regards the abstraction of the liberated individual, of homo invictus, as the benchmark reality, the only true source of moral standing. By grounding moral judgment in the self’s ability to stand alone and radically independent, it must try to deny history—and even deny time itself, seeking to freeze the present and then utopianize it, preserving the youth and beauty and strength that are one’s own, or that one can acquire for oneself, whatever the cost to the future (or to the past). But that state of independence is all-important. The minute one’s ability to be independent falters and fails … well, then the game is up, and all one’s entitlements are revoked, rendered null and void.
11:17 PM / August 22, 2006