When you are philoso- phising, you have to descend into primeval chaos, and feel at home there. We still think of the oppression of the ques- tion. But then one is always restored, by the explosion of the answer.
Are we the Tea Party? We see the flattery - yet hear a correction. I think it speaks for fair play.
Ludwig Wittgenstein Culture and Value 1948 Basil Blackwell translation G.H. von Wright editor op. cit.
We don't have any opening just now. I'm not here for what you have; I am here for what I've fairly won. In 2008, we had a "change election" which took remarkable hold, against the very most vulgar resistance. It goes on, in both Parties; but it is the one whose property it is, we do rush to invigorate with its origins. It's trusteeship. Now a Clinton has promised the Brookings Institution, she will contrive to bind all Pres- idents who may follow her pending reign, to warfare against Iran for hypotheticals which may worry her. Ignoring the vessel of the promise, it's the thought that counts. She has assimilated nothing of the ge- nius of a cause, of which she now claims to be a prudent parent. This is not the Constitution, much less the civilisation, one should wish upon a kennel for one's dogs. Even the Pavlovian reflex requires actual provocation, to go to war; but is that species our baseline? The principles of an honest intel- lect cannot be blackmailed again, by warnings of doom from that sec- tor's messenger, even if familiar, admonishing us to get to bed, and not expect a candidacy of reason. To no one's great awe, The Post has trotted forward Ignatius and Marcus, to intone that her belli- cosity's exactly the right basis for further discussion. An imper- ious consensus, if not a new one. How tiresomely they mime what we rejected decisively, in 2008. Oh, yes. They will warn of a cor- rupting of the Courts, a lowering of obligations among the well-to- do, a curdling in béarnaise. Let there be the trials we've endured, and learned to master, before any taunting to renounce our progress. Who caused it? Who'd preserve it?
I suppose, it is a feature of age, not merely to sympathise more than is welcome, with the trials of the present, but to perceive them, al- most as a corollary of lengthy re- flection, as potentially rather a godsend to the young - who can be counted on (much to the amusement of the gods who envy them) to ex- perience their challenges as com- paratively self-defining. I offer to admit, from one's own super-an- uation, they simply are not. That said, I never thought this at the time. I associate the university, that Yale is in my mind, with the life and mind of a predecessor of ours, Socrates. This is because my ex- perience of Yale comes from the dialogues of law students with an indefatigably questioning inter- locutor; and while I learned, e- ven in college elsewhere, to val- ue that intensity of interest in the question put before my mind, to engage, I appreciated there an inherently infinite contestibil- ity in such questions. It isn't that a right answer cannot exist. It's that the answer can't com- pare with the vitality of the question. It is on the basis of this simple fact, that I condone the education of lawyers at the very most demanding institutions: if one gets out of Yale without humility, that principle suffers. Hence, Clarence Thomas, and the Clintons. But I stray. At Yale these days, there is a buzz to defrock an undergraduate college of its namesake, John C. Calhoun - the noted South Carolinian theorist of white supremacy, nullification of national law, and awkward hair. Students movingly remark upon the ordeal of studying beneath commem- orations of a racist alumnus. Who would not? The undergraduate motive of reform is one we all exercised and never forget; but it's no betrayal or re- nunciation of that urgent feeling, to say that it can hope for too much, and in the wrong place. The question is never, in an institu- tion going on 300+ years, whose university the place is (anyway). The question is whether one is capable of accepting responsibil- ity, today, for the choice one has made to engage in it - knowing, a paradox lurks in some nomenclature. Where on earth, may we demand an apology from the past? On the other hand, how best can we remit the inference of insult or worse, in the encumbrance of in- heritances we'd never shape as they are today? Yale appears to be on the verge of offering tentative answers to the question, and one can't help but be certain of the place's awareness, that any answer must lack the per- manence of the question. Hence, Yale. And may it never be easy.