We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The greatGertrude Himmelfarb on the great Lionel Trilling. I remember well this dignified gent from my undergrad years: he expected a lot! You were to be a scholar, not a student, which meant he wanted you to show him something he didn't know, or hadn't thought about. A paragraph from the piece, which uses T.S. Eliot as a central theme (nicely covers my personal theme of "the tyranny of good intentions") :
TRILLING WAS RESPONDING to the problem George Orwell had posed so dramatically in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Reviewing that book when it appeared in 1949, Trilling made clear that Orwell was not, as liberals liked to think, merely attacking Soviet communism. "He is saying, indeed, something no less comprehensive than this: that Russia, with its idealistic social revolution now developed into a police state, is but the image of the impending future and that the ultimate threat to human freedom may well come from a similar and even more massive development of the social idealism of our democratic culture." A few years later, reviewing another book by Orwell, Trilling repeated this theme: "Social idealism" is not the only thing that can be perverted into tyranny; so can any idea "unconditioned" by reality. "The essential point of Nineteen Eighty-Four is just this, the danger of the ultimate and absolute power which the mind can develop when it frees itself from conditions, from the bondage of things and history."