Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Mansfield on Brann on modernity

Tom Cerber calls our attention to Harvey C. Mansfield’s excellent review of this excellent book. Tom gives you the ultimate paragraph. I’ll leave you with the the two that immediately precede it:

Our principle has become Just-Now. Nobody can live by that principle consistently, and so nobody should try to do so. It’s crazy to live all the time in your own time, regarding the past as a junkyard. You can instead choose to live with discrimination in the modern age, rejecting the idea of any historical necessity to stay within your zeitgeist. While the modern hurtles ahead toward the postmodern--and that very name shows that both modern and postmodern are clueless about what lies in the future--you can watch TV and rejoice in the good fortune of being an American. At the same time you can send your children to St. John’s College.

Well, that is a friendly gibe. It means only that Tutor Brann wants you to recognize that there is no alternative principle to Just-Now. At least for the present. A good education, if you manage to get one, will teach you to distrust modernity but not to reject it. Our modern Constitution allows you to be critical even of modernity. It gives you the opportunity to learn about the soul, where modernity is to be distrusted. But it would be a good idea to hold fast to the Constitution, which is modern and based on the self.

Read the whole review, which will likely persuade you to read the book.


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