Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Isaiah Had it Right

“For these studies spring from, and thrive on, discord. Someone may question this on the grounds that even in a society of saintly anarchists, where no conflicts about ultimate purposes can take place, political problems, for example constitutional and legislative issues, might still arise. But this objection rests on a mistake. Where ends are agreed, the only questions left are those of means, and these are not political but technical, that is to say, capable of being settled by experts or machines, like arguments between engineers or doctors. That is why those who put their faith in some immense, world transforming phenomenon, like the final triumph of reason or the proletarian revolution, must believe that all political and moral problems can thereby be turned into technical ones. That is the meaning of Engels’ famous phrase (paraphrasing Saint-Simon) about ‘replacing the government of persons by the administration of things’…”

--Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty

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