Kenneth Minogue's The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life PDF

By Kenneth Minogue

One of the bleak comedies of the 20 th century was once that depressing sufferers of communist regimes may climb partitions, swim rivers, circumvent bullets, and locate different determined how one can in attaining liberty within the West whilst that revolutionary intellectuals may sentimentally proclaim that those very regimes have been the wave of the longer term. an analogous tragicomedy is taking part in out in our century: because the sufferers of despotism and backwardness from 3rd global international locations pour into Western states, teachers and intellectuals current Western lifestyles as a nightmare of inequality and oppression.

In The Servile brain: How Democracy Erodes the ethical Life, Kenneth Minogue explores the intelligentsia’s love affair with social perfection and divulges how that idealistic dream is destroying precisely what has made the artistic Western international impossible to resist to the peoples of international lands. The Servile Mind appears at how Western morality has advanced into mere “politico-moral” posturing approximately popular moral causes—from fixing global poverty and growing peace to curing weather switch. this present day, basically making the right kind noises and parading one’s crucial decency via having the right kind critiques has develop into an alternative choice to person ethical responsibility.

Instead, Minogue argues, we ask that our governments hold the weight of fixing our social—and specifically moral—problems for us. The irony is that the extra we let the kingdom to figure out our ethical order, the extra we have to learn the way to behave and what to imagine. Such is the servile mind.

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Extra resources for The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life

Sample text

It therefore makes an immense difference to life whether one’s superiors (at all levels) are “enlightened” or not. What I have called “servility” is thus, in this social structure, not a vice but the only sensible way of engaging with others. What in such societies becomes of freedom and independence? Some independence of judgement will happen, because independence (at least in the form of wilfulness) is no less basic to human life than accommodation and servility. But freedom in this kind of justice can be nothing other than a licence to indulge impulses likely to subvert the just or communal way of doing things.

All human projects are guided by what we think is desirable. Given that what we desire seldom ever yields the satisfactions we dream of, illusion can never be far behind. All political projects, like political careers, thus end in failure. They raise more hopes than they can possibly satisfy. Wisdom therefore demands a constant alertness to the fragility of the hopes that often enslave us. And in introducing the paperback edition of The Servile Mind I can do no better than point to one specific conflict in our culture that dooms virtually all our projects to disappointment.

Democratization is the most dramatic of all the corruptions of modernity in which the inherited practice of balance is to be replaced by a single ideal believed to solve all problems. The moral life can no more be isolated from this drive than anything else. It too must be democratized. Such a grand desirability as democracy at its most ambitious clearly needs to be examined. Notionally, it stands for the will of the people and for universal equalization as the content of that will. This is a combination of two logically distinct considerations.

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The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life by Kenneth Minogue


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