In any realistic perspective the idea that a single event – however large – could mark the end of human conflict was absurd. But those who were seduced by the idea were not thinking in realistic terms.
They were swayed by a myth – a myth of progress in which humanity is converging on a universal set of institutions and values. The process might be slow and faltering and at times go into reverse, but eventually the whole of humankind would live under the same enlightened system of government.
When you’re inside a myth it looks like fact, and for those who were inside the myth of the end of history it seems to have given a kind of peace of mind. Actually history was on the move again. But since it was clearly moving into difficult territory, it was more comfortable to believe that the past no longer mattered.
John Gray BBC Online article 26.12.11
“Now the code of life of the High Middle Ages said something entirely opposite to this: that it was precisely lack of leisure, an inability to be at leisure, that went together with idleness; that the restlessness of work-for-work’s sake arose from nothing other than idleness. There is a curious connection in the fact that the restlessness of a self-destructive work-fanatacism should take its rise from the absence of a will to accomplish something. ” JosefPieper – Leisure, the Basis ofCulture (p 27)
The paradox of capitalism is that unless it is buttressed by collective and social institutions that share and distribute risk fairly, provide a social contract for its people and generate opportunity, it degenerates into what we are living through – business leaders preoccupied with their own remuneration, consumers frightened to spend, sectors such as banking bloated by vast, hidden subsidies and a poverty of innovation and investment. Will Hutton 04.12.11