Sunday, September 07, 2008
Of course, the Noble Lie is wrong-headed in the same way that all purely intellectual political analysis is wrong-headed. The intellectual thinks the masses are incapable of reason, which is true, but he then thinks that he is capable of reason, which is false. His idea of reason may be more sophisticated, but it is still subject to the same forces of irrationality as everybody else's. In all human beings, reason is just one form of commentary on the world; there are many others. Believers in the Noble Lie - or, indeed, PR, management consultancy, marketing and countless other contemporary delusions - reject this in favour of a commitment to their own rationality and expertise. They do not understand that democracy is intended to smooth out the irrationalities of the elites as much as those of the masses. That it does not always does so is neither here nor there, it does so more often than any other system. Palin is thus a creation of an anti-democratic and deluded rationality and of a failure to understand the sources of our knowledge. She is an epistemological error.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:53 am