The rhythm of history

I finished a few books in the last week  (Economics in One Lesson, Liberalism in the Classic Tradition and A Renegade History of the United States) so that clears up some space to start a few more.  In addition to a deep interest in history (especially the revisionist sort) I am also getting more interested in philosophy.  I’ve read a few of the “foundational” works but have been wanting to get more of an overview of the different schools of thought, so I went to a book store (the hell you say?!?!) and found a copy of Betrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy” to see if it would scratch that itch.  This is from the introduction:

Every community is exposed to two opposite dangers: ossification through too much discipline and reverence for tradition, on the one hand; on the other hand, dissolution, or subjection to foreign conquest, through the growth of an individualism and personal independence that makes co-operation impossible. In general, important civilizations start with a rigid and superstitious system, gradually relaxed, and leading, at a certain stage, to a period of brilliant genius, while the good of the old tradition remains and the evil inherent in its dissolution has not yet developed. But as the evil unfolds, it leads to anarchy, thence, inevitably, to a new tyranny, producing a new synthesis secured by a new system of dogma. The doctrine of liberalism is an attempt to escape from this endless oscillation. The essence of liberalism is an attempt to secure a social order not based on irrational dogma, and insuring stability without involving more restraints than are necessary for the preservation of the community. Whether this attempt can succeed only the future can determine.

Sold.  At 1,000 pages I this one will take me a while to get through (and to be honest I may not read it all but may skim it and then use it as a reference) but the intro convinced me to read more.






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