No culture is a straitjacket; but all cultures, like all living things, must be coherent. We can have a culture like that of the pagan Irish, whose great epic was the tale of a cattle raid; we can have the British culture of shopkeepers that Napoleon sneered at; but we cannot have both at once. We can have a culture that allows men to challenge one another to a duel when they believe their honor has been besmirched; we can have a culture in which the weakest among us may speak slander without fear of physical reprisal; but we cannot have both at once. The call for "pluralism" is a dodge, a way to excuse oneself from having to justify the single counter-cultural thing one wishes to promote. Many people are "pluralistic" about marriage these days. Not nearly so many are "pluralistic" about property, or revenge, or war — or education, or even unbridled speech.Plenty more here. His talk on 'culture, what culture?' is magnificent, by the way: linking Jacobean comedy to our strange, 21st century obsessions.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I've been reading Anthony Esolen's translation of Dante's Inferno. He's a magnificent writer (Esolen, as well Dante). Much of his writing - and his talks - focuses on culture. Especially it's loss. Here he is recently on the problem with 'pluralism':