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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roger Kimball reviews "The Opium of the Intellectuals"
The primary target of Aron’s polemic was fanaticism. But he also recognized that the defeat of fanaticism often leads to a contrary spiritual sickness, indifference. Both are expressions of the ultimate enemy, nihilism. Skepticism, Aron wrote, is useful or harmful depending on which is more to be feared at the moment: fanaticism or apathy. The intervening faculty that orients us appropriately is practical wisdom, prudence, “the god” (Aron quotes Burke) “of this lower world.”

I read part of the book after Jonah Goldberg mentioned it at The Corner a few years ago.  I remember it was hard to get (it took a while for my library to get it on inter-library loan).  I liked it but never finished.  It's an English translation of a French work on philosophy/sociology and I found it heavy going.  I just couldn't put in the time.

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