If one is going to go after sacred cows, one should really go after sacred cows. Most of the people in our society who get credit for "going after sacred cows" are just going after unfashionable ones. At least ones that are unfashionable in the circles they want to appeal to. We live in a world of iconodules posing as iconoclasts.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Vision of the Enlightened and the Bureaucratic State

from here

As such critics pointed out, the self-incurred guardians of the Enlightenment took themselves to be the sole judges of enlightenment, the determiners of the true and of the good.
We see incontrovertibly that men who are not themselves in the position to know what is good for them and to strive for it are even less able to owe their well-being to the virtue of a guardian who is without a judge and who will never allow them to achieve maturity. [20]
Herr Jacobi’s words are an epitaph to private freedom that should be inscribed over every door to every parliament in the world; for this self-incurred guardianship has not gone away, but, on the contrary, has grown stronger by the year, as a matter of political freedom; and if you are looking for the roots of that freedom and that seemingly indefatigable confidence of bureaucrats and social reformers by which they presume to meddle in every aspect of your life, you will find it here in self-incurred yet immature guardianship — which has as its ostensible aim your welfare and that of all your fellows.
In all governments there may be odious tyranny, monopolies, exactions, and abominable abuses of nearly all kinds; but the idea of a bureaucracy is not fulfilled till we add the pedantic element of a pretense to direct life, to know what is best for us, to measure out our labor, to superintend our studies, to prescribe our opinions, to make itself answerable for us, to put us to bed, tuck us up, put on our nightcap, and administer our gruel. This element does not seem possible without a persuasion on the part of the governing power that it is in possession of the secret of life, that it has a true knowledge of the all-embracing political science, which should direct the conduct of all men, or at least of all citizens. Hence any government that avowedly sets before its eyes the summum bonum of humanity, defines it, and directs all its efforts to this end, tends to become a bureaucracy. [21]


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