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percy-l - Re: [percy-l] Percy-L Digest, Vol 59, Issue 2

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Subject: Percy-L: Literary, Religious, Scientific, and Philosophical Discussion of Walker Percy

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  • From: Wade Riddick <wriddick AT>
  • To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" <percy-l AT>
  • Subject: Re: [percy-l] Percy-L Digest, Vol 59, Issue 2
  • Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2008 21:57:13 -0600

>but if reason and intellect is central, what need is there for respect
>of others?
>Is this about Percy?

Yes. While much of the logic of the Federalist Papers with regards to
controlling faction has been invalidated by technological advances like the
robocall and the mass mailing, I think #10 explains the conflicts between
rationality and liberty quite well. If people are going to be free, they
have to be free to follow their own logic to different ends.

So how do you get to the truth?

Isn't this getting at what Percy called the intersubjective?

"There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the
one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the
other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and
the same interests.
It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it
was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an
aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly
to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it
nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which
is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive
The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be
unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at
liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the
connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and
his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former
will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity
in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is
not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The
protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the
protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the
possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results;
and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the
respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different
interests and parties.
The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man..."
- _Federalist #10_

(Taken as a meditation on oxidative stress and longevity, the second
paragraph presents a rather intriguing set of connections considering it's
over two centuries old. We literally burn and rust as we age, due to the
corrosive properties of the oxygen that sustains us.)

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