Sunday, November 13, 2005

Political Incorrectness

Vaguely in the vein of Quentin Skinner's Liberty Before Liberalism, here's Political Theory before Political Correctness:
since the majority of people everywhere, however excellent the education they may have obtained, are of very restricted intelligence, it is more likely than not that they will not only be ignorant of the best means to the good, but also of the good itself.

- John Plamenatz (1938) Freedom, Consent and Political Obligation p.159 [Appendix to ch.7]
It's actually an argument for representative, democratic government(!), but he goes on to say immediately after:
An educated person, because he thinks about more things, has more opinions than an uneducated one, but there is little reason for supposing that he is more likely to be right about matters that interest them both. He is just as likely to be wrong, but for different and more complicated reasons.

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