Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Worriers of the World, Unite!

Canadian values and the American Dream supposedly hold us together in two separate federations. Purposeful visions—along with just-in-time bilingual visionaries—are not adornments. They’re the imagination’s rationale for our federations. 

Accordingly, along with a strong military, energy security, and diplomats punching above their weight, we must nurture, reward, and finance more positive thinking—otherwise, both federations will collapse, or at least stop impressing anyone. 

French Philosopher Andre’ Glucksmann, in an interview in Der “Spiegel, offers a more reliable, less rigid, and intellectually less strained case for sustaining Europe’s troubled federation.

Glucksmann: … Europe is a unity in its division or a division in its unity. Whichever way you put it, though, it's clearly not a community in terms of religion, language, or morals.

SPIEGEL: And yet it exists. What does that lead you to conclude?

Glucksmann: The crisis of the European Union is a symptom of its civilization. It doesn't define itself based on its identity but, rather, on its otherness. A civilization isn't necessarily based on a common desire to achieve the best but, rather, on excluding and making the evil taboo. In historical terms, the European Union is a defensive reaction to horror.

SPIEGEL: A negatively defined entity that emerged out of the experience of two world wars?

Glucksmann: In the Middle Ages, the faithful prayed and sang in their litanies: "Lord, protect us from pestilence, hunger and war." This means that community exists not for good but against evil.”

North America’s relatively ancient federations were defensive concoctions—far surer and more united about the shortcomings and vices of the outside world than about what they might do on their own.

As the world gets smaller and more divided, worrying should continue to keep us together and creative.

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