Saturday, September 11, 2004

The Roots of Social and Political Contention

There is first of all general animosity: "All men naturally hate one another." (Pascal) Then there are particular animosities between particular people. Add to this particular longstanding grievances between particular groups, e.g., Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. Most fundamentally, however, there is a conflict of ideas the truth or falsity of which cannot be easily determined. The ideas get embodied in interested individuals who profit from them and define themselves in terms of them. Thus the battle of ideas becomes a battle of individuals and groups without ceasing to be a battle of ideas.

Welcome to the human predicament.