ONE: Political principles and practices shape,
influence and rule men's actual lives and possibilities, and their
hopes, imaginations, and desires: Always there have been rulers and
ruling ideas; always people have, often violently, disagreed about the
order, rights and duties imposed by their society or its rulers; always
people have attacked "the powers that be" and striven for a better life
and a brighter future; always people have contested the value or
validity of the leading principles and ideological underpinnings of
their society; and always the few who have ruled and owned have
defended their power and wealth by force of arguments and of arms, and
have competed amongst each other for prominence and further privilege.
You may be imprisoned or set free for political reasons;
you may be killed or a killer for political reasons; you may be
declared super- or sub-human for political reasons; you may starve or
grow rich for political reasons; and if you do not and have never cared
for politics, someone else's politics may annihilate you; for more
people have been killed, repressed, tortured and persecuted for
political reasons than by any other human invention or delusion.
is of fundamental human importance and concerns everyone everywhere,
factually, morally and intellectually.
Now, concerning anything of human importance there are
always four fundamental questions
- What are its key ideas?
- What do we know about it?
- What may we expect from it?
- What should we do about it?
These are fundamental questions to pose about anything
worth thinking about, and I shall attempt to answer them concerning
politics, and start with the first.
TWO: Succesful communication requires the
clarification of one's meanings and intentions. All problems ought to
begin as problems of definition, for clear and unambiguous explanations
of the intended meanings of one's vocabulary are always useful and
Clear definitions are always important, but especially in politics, for
political terms are often obscure in meaning, as they tend to be used
with strong feeling or malicious intent: I am trying to tell you what I
think, and I am trying to do so in as clear a way as I can, without
hiding my ideas under a cloak of jargon or bad grammar.
I hope that my writing is clear enough for you to
perceive my mistakes, unclarities and exaggerations, but I am well
aware that even though we may sincerely try to understand and be
understood, we may easily mislead ourselves and each other by our
choice or appreciation of words, and as I am well awared that this may
happen all the more easily with an emotional and important subject like
But there is this question of the definition of
"politics", and the sooner we're done with it, the better we know what
we're talking about.
"Politics" as a subject for study is usually defined as
"the science of government". This is not such a bad definition, but as
it is hardly enlightening and somewhat narrow I shall try to improve on
it by increasing its scope and precisision.
Clearly, the study of politics is not
just limited to the study of governments, states or political
parties: It is concerned with the practices, principles and people that
rule or are intended to rule in any society of human beings.
Politics as a science, consequently,
results from the study of power:
The men, structures and institutions
wherein resides the ability and organisation of decisions over the
social events which control and influence (groups of) men; and the
study of ideology:
The ideas, theories and creeds by which men orient themselves in the
world, and which say what the world is like (metaphysics) and what it
should be like (ethics).
These two concepts, power and ideology, seem
to me to be the key concepts for the study of society: What men are
depends on what men think they are, on what they think the world is,
and on what they think the world should be; and what men may be depends
on who may or does make which kinds of decisions concerning whom.
The state of society depends
on the state of men's minds and on the state of social organisation.
The state of men's minds depends on the ways they have satisfied the
most dominant human need: The need for an ideology.
Man is a rationalizing animal: He can only survive within
some system of beliefs that explain to him what the world is like and
what it should be like, which thus provides meaning and purpose to his
The state of men's social organisations depends on the
ways they have satisfied the most dominant social need: The need for
Man is a political animal: He can only survive within
some system of coordination that constrains and guides the actions of
his fellows, and thus provides the backbone of social life and coherent
results from the interaction of ideas and ideals about man and society,
and the ways the taking of social decisions have been organized.
Thus every society and every man knows politics, for
every society is integrated, kept together and oriented by some form of
ideology and some power structure.
THREE: This, then, I understand by politics, and
it is with this explanation in the back of my mind that I seek to
answer the remaining three questions I posed, which I shall now clarify
The second question concerns our knowledge and beliefs,
and may be expanded as: Which political beliefs are rational,
that is, testable and adequate to the facts? Which political beliefs
that is, practisable and adequate to our desires? Which of our beliefs
and proposals are defensible on factual and moral grounds against
rational, acute and informed criticism?
The third question, which asks what one may expect from
politics, can be answered only if the second has been answered, for it
asks what the world would be like if our political are
Naturally, wishes and facts tend to be opposed: What one
wishes for is rarely true, and what is true is often undesirable. So
here we have an opportunity to find out, if we honestly dare, to what
extent our political beliefs square with all the
(instead of just with a biased collection of a handful facts, carefully
selected for propagandistic
The fourth question finally inquires what we should do to
realize our hopes and practise our principles, and what degree of
success we might expect - here it makes sense to reflect that what we
can do, what we are willing to do, and what we do do often falls
radically short of what we ought to do: It is easier to preach than to
practise; far more difficult to do than to dogmatize.
Questions such as these are very easily answered
dogmatically, and very difficult to answer in a sensible way. As they
are fundamental, I will, nevertheless, try to sketch some answers in as
short a compass as is possible without being doctrinal or unclear.
Of course, complete answers, if possible at all, involve
much more philosophy
and social science than I am willing to enter into (and more than is
good for nearly anyone as well), but what I have to say may be useful
anyway, as I believe that most people who think about politics do not
face these questions at all, or else do not face them well.
FOUR: The first thing to do is to make a clear
distinction between facts
and values, and
to declare my own values and give my own assessment of the facts.
Everyone accepts that some statements about the world can
be decided as true
or false (in
principle) by any competent observer, whatever his or
her personal feelings concerning the subject-matter of the statement.
Such statements are statements of (purported) fact.
Again, everyone accepts that some statements are
not primarily about the intersubjectively accessible world - one man's utopia is another
man's nightmare, even though they may agree completely on its
blueprint. Such statements are statements of value.
It is often not easy to draw the line between factual,
and moral or esthetical, in short: evaluative statements. In part this
is due to intentional and unintentional abuse of language, and in part
to the unavoidable emotional, moral and esthetical connotations most
But I shall assume, firstly, that in any case the
distinction between an assertion of fact (about the intersubjectively
shared external world) and one of value (about our personal
appreciation of events) may be drawn, and, secondly,
that in argueing about politics it nearly always is important that that
it is drawn - and with some precision and a cool head,
for the same fact appears very different under
descriptions of it.
Even carefully phrased statements of facts tend to
and therefore it is of fundamental importance in the
social sciences, in politics, and in many other situations, to state
one's biases, values and purposes explicitly, rather than to suggest or
insinuate them in between the lines, as is still common practice.
FIVE: My own moral desires may be summed up as
I should like to live in a society in which
- all human beings may earn an income sufficient to
provide for all their biological needs (food, housing, clothing,
- all human beings have similar chances and opportunities
to education and to decide what to do with their lives;
- all human beings are free to say, believe and do what
they please, provided they don't physically hinder others from doing
likewise, and may organize themselves into groups to further their own
interests and to realize their own ends;
- all human beings are equally protected by laws
guaranteeing all equal rights and similar duties (barring inabilities);
- the prime purposes of society are
- the preservation and protection of human and natural life
- the furthering of art and science, based on
- free cooperation, mutual tolerance and the golden rule.
Of course, this list is neither complete nor precise, but
it does state my biases sufficiently well, while it also gives occasion
for some important remarks concerning these and any other set of
Firstly, then, to my knowledge none of these points has
ever been realized in any society of more than a few thousands of men.
Therefore, secondly, this is indeed a statement of my desires about
human society, irrespective of its possibility of realization: Ideals
are overstatements, just as ideas supporting ideals tend to be
overbeliefs. Both points seem to me to be true of any set of political
Thirdly, to realize any of my political desires rather
far-going changes in any of the known societies are required, for
virtually every known society is based on inequalities of power, income and
opportunity, and less concerned with art and science, or the
preservation of life and nature, than with its own glory, war or
Fourthly, most persons happen not to share my desires.
Most men tend to believe (whatever they may say in public) that their
is somehow better than any other group, and that they deserve
preferential treatment, special rights or special protection. And most
men tend to feel that it is desirable that their opponents are
repressed, shut up or "re-educated".
So for these and other reasons I do not
believe that I will ever live in a society satisfying my desires, since
most men don't share them, and I must depend on others to realize them.
Again, I believe that this does not only hold for me, but
that this holds for virtually anyone, whatever his or her political
ideals: No actual society has ever fitted anyone's ideals, and no
large-scale attempt at social change has ever succeeded in realizing
its aims: In terms of their originally declared ends, all revolutions
have failed, whatever their blind or corrupt apologists have said.
SIX: Now let's face some facts, and let's do so
on a global scale, for we live in many ways in one world, where the
wealth of one nation depends crucially on the starvation in another,
and ideas developed on one part of the globe alter the course of events
We live in a world in which wealth and economic
opportunity are very unequally distributed: Even in the West the
highest income may be 40 or more times as high as the lowest (I'm
speaking of incomes, not of inherited wealth), whereas the lowest-paid
Western worker is rich and prosperous compared to nearly all
inhabitants of third-world countries.
Two out of three living persons suffer from specific or
general malnutrition; about 50% of the world's population can neither
read nor write; and every year millions upon millions starve to death.
Many countries don't have equal rights and no country
provides equal chances or opportunities for all its inhabitants. In all
countries some people are denied the right to express their opinion or
profess their faith, and in most countries many political and religious
groups are forbidden and persecuted.
Every year millions of people are arrested without
lawful reason and sentenced without fair trial, and in 65 countries
(out of a total of 135) torture is regularly practised on political
prisoners. In many countries civil wars, coups or regular wars
go on and on for years, destroying many lives and large parts of
Relative to the actual distribution of food the earth is
overpopulated, and it will be overpopulated by any reasonable criterion
within two generations at most.
The earth's natural resources are rapidly depleted; more
and more species of plants and animals are exterminated at a still
increasing rate, thus impoverishing nature's gene-pool and variety;
every year many thousands of square kilometers of precious top-soil is
eroded, changing wood or crop-land to desert; the air is poisoned by
lead and industrial exhausts; acid rains destroy European forests, and
marine life is seriously threatened by deposits of radio-active
wastage, oil and industrial products.
The cultural life of the mass of mankind is virtually
nil: Superficial American series and pop-muzak without the least
intellectual content rule world-wide on TV and radio, and culture has
become an industry for profit, which no longer seeks to educate or
enlighten but aims to exploit people's desire for sensation and easy
Most science and research money is tied up in research
for war ("defense"), and considerable parts of the social sciences are
futile, fraudulent or muddle-headed drivel, while large groups of the
population, including many intellectuals (usually from the soft
sciences) have turned away from science to all sorts of emotionally
And everyone everywhere is every day subjected to
political and economical propaganda,
false information, lies and dishonest
These seem to me to be some of the pertinent political
facts of our time. No doubt they are inaccurately phrased; no doubt
they reveal my personal biases, but they do square with what
intelligent reader can find out for himself from the leading papers and
And of course I've painted a one-sided picture: There are
many social, cultural and scientific current events I could wax
enthusiastic about. But they are, I feel, a small though brilliant
minority against a dark background of worldwide misery and destruction.
SEVEN: There are two important points to be made
concerning this sum-up of facts.
First, it has always been like this: Human
is by and large a history of exploitation, starvation and war. Only a
small proportion of mankind has ever lived a long, peaceful, healthy
and interesting life - most have lived miserably and died early and
Second, until recently much of this misery was
unavoidable: There were no known means to check the plagues; there was
no technology adequate to feed, clothe, house and heal everyone
decently and sufficiently; and man's comprehension of nature and
himself was altogether too poor to serve all of mankind.
Now, for the first time in history, the knowledge and the
means are available to provide everyone's basic needs: To feed, house,
heal and educate all of mankind. But it doesn't happen.
Aristotle defined man as the rational and political
animal: The animal that is capable of systematic and abstract
understanding of his environment, and which cooperates purposively to
adapt himself and his environment to his needs and interests.
Why then do so many human attempts to think and cooperate
result in misery and destruction? Why "homo homini lupus"? 
There are many reasons, but the fundamental one seems to
be the bad quality of most of the ideologies
people have adopted to motivate and guide their lives.
Most ideologies have been, and are, false and misleading illusions,
motivated by impractisable ideals.
Just consider the histories of christianity, of
communism, of mohammedanism, of fascism: They have wrecked the lives of
literally millions upon millions of people, and they are at the root of
literally tenthousands of wars; literally millions of killings,
tortures and enslavements.
The political history of the predominant human ideologies
is a record of a horrific, nearly continuous series of slaughters,
sanctified by impractisable ideals, embedded in fanatically held false
Consider how people select their ideology: They are
spoonfed or they are converted. In either case an ideology tends to be
chosen not on rational but on
irrational grounds: False information,
unrealizable hopes, fear, ignorance, anger, envy, provably false ideals
and implausible assumptions.
Nearly always a man adopts his world view to satisfy his
needs or fancies, not his understanding or curiosity.
And consider how people retain and defend their
ideologies: Once converted to an ideology (and
nearly everyone has one,
at least, for everyone is educated in some society, and every society
is integrated, kept together and orientated by some ideology), once men
have acquired a set of emotionally satisfying sophistries and illusions
about what the world is like and should be like, the enormous human
capacities we all have for wishful
thinking, for blindness to
for selfinterest and for fallacious
to make it virtually impossible for most men to think clearly,
objectively and dispassionately about their chosen creed.
Most men find it very painful to doubt their dearest
beliefs or even to hear them doubted, for this undermines their
world(-view) and their sense of self and purpose,
and nearly all men find consistent rational
thinking very difficult.
Indeed, man is a rationalizing animal: He first selects
what he desires to be true, and then proceeds to make it come true by
bending the facts accordingly.
This may be sound practice, but it leads to bad thinking.
Very few man, so far, have been able to look at all available facts
while correcting consciously and honestly for their prejudices,
and their uncertainties:
is always easy, and
very pleasant to most people as it means that they can indulge in their
dreams and desires. Also, the more complex something is, the easier it
is to dogmatize about it, for about complex situations one may easily
deceive or be deceived.
So with Hazlitt "I believe in the theoretical benevolence
but practical malignity of man": Men are as they are because of their
beliefs about what they are and about what the world is and should be.
And by and large these beliefs are such, I am very sorry to say, that
most men seem stupid,
and negligent (the inital letters spell
"sin"), for most men believe in some blinkering and false ideology,
which keeps them from thinking the right thoughts, asking the right
questions and doing the right things.
This is not due to inherent stupidity (at least, so I
hope, for stupidity
knows no cure, and society is remediable only to the extent men are
remediable) nor is it necessary or wise to stipulate which thoughts are
right, which questions sensible and which actions good: The quality of
ideas does not only depend on contents but also on the methods
they are reached, just as the quality of actions does not only depend
on what is done but also on the intentions with which they are done. It
is means and intentions, not ends, that count most in life.
EIGHT: Indeed, I am skeptical
about doctrines and
Although I know of quite a few thinkers whose opinions on
politics seem to me to be sound and often adequate to the facts, I do
not know of any rational and reasonable political ideology.
That is, I do not know of any more or less systematical
set of beliefs about and plans for a society, adopted by some group of
men, which I consider scientifically sound, actually practisable and
morally acceptable (and as I am a philosopher I should, at least, know
of such an ideology
if it exists).
There are many reasons for this sad lack of sensible
political ideologies, but they may all be suggested by a question:
Who can say, without delusion and without lying: "I know
and understand the various social philosophies and sciences; I have
carefully weighed the different proposals, priorities and the available
factual evidence: I, at least, have the rational right to claim that my
theories and plans, if not true, are the best, the most plausible
theories and best practisable plans a man in my circumstances could
Not one in a million, for nearly all men tailor the
to fit their prejudgments,
turn a blind eye to any
painful fact, and
of nearly all relevant theories and
What determines men's political preferences tends to be
their passions and preferences, not factual evidence or sound
reasoning: In politics, at least, "Reason is the slave of the passions"
So I will not answer my question about
political knowledge by saying what is political
knowledge: What is needed to think well and to come to an adequate
understanding and evaluation of one's situation is not
some set of supposedly "factual" beliefs someone else has prefabricated
for you, but, firstly, methods of reasoning and insight
into the fallacies
of thinking we all so easily fall into, that is: A
good grounding in logic
and philosophy of science, and, secondly,
(more) knowledge of culture, for we all depend on and
are part of a very great intellectual and artistic heritage so
deplorably few of us have more than a superficial knowledge of or
But if I cannot point to political knowledge I can, at
least, give an answer to the question "When are beliefs about politics
Indeed, this is the proper way to pose the question "What
do we know about politics?", for the basic question is not
for some list of dogmas but for a set of criterions to
decide whether any set of political beliefs make sense.
In my view any political theory, whatever its purpose,
whomever its adherents, must satisfy two types of criterions:
First, it should be rational:
theory should be based on adequate empirical evidence; it should be
argued clearly and logically, and it should be well supported by sound
statistics and knowledgeable statistical reasoning.
Put negatively, a political theory should not
be heavily philosophical or metaphysical; it should not
be jargon-ridden, ambiguous, vaguely grandiose or illogical, and it
should not be exaggerated, imprecize or improperly
qualified in its factual claims.
Second, it should be reasonable:
political theory should clearly state its philosophical assumptions and
moral desires; it should be based on a clear distinction between facts
and values (the denial that such a distinction exists is a sure sign
that someone wants to gloss over some painful facts or has an axe to
grind), and it should link its theories with
clear and practisable
plans and proposals, that have a chance of realization that is
considerable given the actual facts.
Again, put negatively, a political theory should not
hide its presuppositions and principles; it should not
confuse hopes and desires with purported facts; and it should not
merely list or imply the desirability of utopian ends, but actually
propose practisable and probable ways of reaching the ends one desires
(for all too often the possible good done by some desired political end
is far offset by the actual evil brought about by the means used for
I think these are the demands a political ideology should
As a matter of fact, of course, political ideologies are
based on wishful
false hopes, unpractisable ideals, biased reports and blind faith in
principles, parties or authorities.
The fundamental fallacy which
seems to underly all ideologies is that people let their hopes and
desires dictate their version and appreciation of facts: Wishful
thinking, self-induced blindness and all delusions and
the human mind is capable of are at the roots of all
And in politics
there seem to me to be two fundamental
difficulties, one theoretical, the other practical:
In matters of theory all men are
apt to believe false,
deluded and harmful political ideologies; in matters of practice those
who obtain power are apt to be incompetent and corrupt.
is a singular raft adrift on an ocean roaring with falsehoods;
competence requires an apparently rare combination of wit, skill and
morals; and "all power
corrups, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Lord Acton).
NINE: What does this entail for our second
question: What will the world be like if, as I've said, nearly all men
lived by false and harmful ideologies, and are ruled by incompetent and
corrupt politicians? Evidently, I am not optimistic.
Of course, you may congratulate yourself on your
civilization, your understanding and your human kindness, and you may
feel optimistic about the potentials of mankind.
But consider: In terms of absolute and relative numbers
this is a warring and dictatorial age: Hundreds of millions have fallen
in wars; hundreds of millions have died for no better reasons than
their being in the way of someone's political plans; and never
has so much of the world been so effectively tyrannised by so few and
so mad dictators: Hitler, more than 50 million killed; Stalin, more
than 20 million killed; Mao, millions killed - and each, by his own
light and by the lights of millions upon millions of their
contemporaries, a superhuman genius, a man as good and as great as the
world has ever seen. And then I have not even started to list monsters
like Amin, Duvalier, Pol Pot, Somoza, Pinochet and many other
If we count what really counts: The scores of millions of
human lifes destroyed for no reason but political fanaticism or
"glorious war" or the scores of millions of needlessly starving small
children, and if we try to "balance" this by recent products of science
and art (the bomb? the TV? the motorcar? modern urban architecture? to
mention a few things nearly everyone faces daily) we see that ours is
not a civilized age but one of the most barbaric ages man has known -
barbaric not only in stark numerical terms, but also in the sense that
for the first time in history the knowledge and the means to prevent it
all, and to feed, clothe, house, heal and educate all of mankind, are
available but hardly used.
This provides some bitter consolation, of course, for it
is good to know that what you desire is practisable. It doesn't console
me much, though, for I perceive that, in fact, the opposite is
More and more people starve; more and more people are
persecuted or killed in wars; more and more of nature is destroyed
every day; and the whole world is in continuous danger of atomic
In stark figures, the world production of arms if
averaged out over all men costs some 200 dollars per
person per year, which also would have been sufficient to feed a person
for a whole year in a third-world country. 
Again, the explosive power of the assembled nuclear
weapons if averaged out over all men, women and children is at present
equivalent of 5 tons of TNT per person. And the production and sales of
ordinary and atomic weapons is still rapidly increasing.
Of course, if nearly all men live by false ideologies and
are ruled by incompetent
and corrupt politicians this is more or less what one would expect.
Since I see little reason to believe that this state of
affairs will rapidly or radically change for the better, I think this
is what one should continue to expect: Misery for most; wealth for
some; happiness for hardly anyone. Life, like nature, is both beautiful
and horrible. To refuse to see both sides is stupid.
TEN: Finally, what should and what
can one do in politics?
In all probability I have failed to convince you of my
main points - that all political ideologies are dangerous and false
delusions; that most men are rarely rational, and least of all as
regards ideologies; that most men are rarely reasonable, and least of
all when their interests are involved; that those who hold or desire
power are normally incompetent, and that even if they are not, they
seek power not for "the good of the people" but for their own good;
that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"; that
more people have been killed, repressed, tortured and persecuted for
political ideals than for any other human invention; and that political
beliefs are often the most dangerous delusions man is capable of - and
having failed to convince you, my answers to this question may very
well fail to convince you also.
But it is not difficult to say what one should do:
believe only what is rational;
and support only what is reasonable.
Like most things this is much easier said than
it is also something everyone is capable of, even if few succeed.
To think rationally; to find and weigh all available
evidence; to distinguish facts from values; to speak and write clearly;
and not to deceive oneself and others are eminently human
capacities very few humans know how to use well.
The reason is simple: It has never been fashionable to
think. Plain, uncritical belief is appreciated everywhere, but rational
belief, based on a hard, dispassionate and careful look at the
pretense, the humbug and the idiocies all men are capable of is beloved
by few, for few things are more pleasing to the human mind than dogmatic delusions.
Clear and sound thinking are necessary but not sufficient
for intelligent action. To do something in a reasonable way one needs a
clear and realizable aim; a plan to realize that aim; and a set of
If I limit myself to political ends, it seems to me that
we all, whatever our specific political ideals, have or should have
three fundamental aims:
- The preservation of natural and human life;
- the preservation of culture; and
- the preservation of personal freedom.
These seem to me to be aims all men must subscribe to,
whatever their plans for nature, society and culture, and whatever they
want to use their freedom for, for life, nature, culture and freedom
are necessary to realize any specific political ideal.
So I conclude that all men have the same interests if not
the same ideals, and I perceive that these interests are seriously
endangered by political dogmatists who are prepared to repress and
persecute anyone who disagrees with them (or even those who just happen
to be around, in the case of sundry terrorists); they are seriously
threatened by incompetent rulers; and they are seriously threatened by
the billions of decent, well-behaved citizens of good intentions and
dubious mental facility, who are too stupid to see that the causes they
believe in are illusions, and that the leaders whom they support are
corrupt and incompetent.
What can be done about this?
In any fundamental sense not very much, I'm afraid, for I
don't believe there is much any ordinary person can do about the state
of the world, for lack of power, lack of knowledge and lack of
opportunity: There are more men in the world than seconds in your life,
so if your aim is to save (a large proportion of) mankind, you are
But if you want to do something in politics (and remember
it is better to do nothing than to wreck havoc due to a false
ideology), I think you should support organizations concerned with
clear and specific moral issues, which concern your own life, which are
realizable from the present situation, which are strifed for in a
non-dogmatic, rational and reasonable spirit, and which preserve life,
nature, culture and freedom.
Examples of such organizations, the activities of which
are consistent with the contents of this essay, at the time of writing,
are Amnesty International, Unesco, Greenpeace etc.
Do not support organizations like
political parties the plans and proposals of which seem propaganda
or difficult to realize, and do not support
organizations which claim a unique insight into the truth: They are
Distrust power to the extent
of its strength; disbelieve ideologies to
the extent of their promises, and remember politics is only
a means to an end, not an end in itself.
In the end it is to science, art and culture that I feel
my strongest commitment, not to any doctrine or creed.
Intellectually and morally I only answer to myself, and
guide myself by what I consider to be the ablest and best philosophers,
scientists, writers and artists - men like Montaigne, Locke, Hume,
Lichtenberg, Jefferson, Hazlitt, Tocqueville, Mill, Whitman, Thoreau,
Peirce, James, Mosca, Russell, Miller (Henry), Orwell and Mills
These men, and others like them (for I have limited
myself here mainly to writers and philosophers), are, in my opinion,
the great men Western culture has produced, and it is from them, I
believe, that sensible answers and methods of reasoning, ways of
orienting oneself in the world, do and should come, rather than from
fashionable, ill-informed and superficial ideologies you meet with
everywhere nowadays, and which will in all probability destroy many
and much of civilization before men learn to be more rational and more
reasonable than they are now.
June 14, 1983