Joe Knippenberg reminds me this morning of how I'd wanted to say something positive about something George W. Bush has said.
To wit: who, I wonder, was responsible for the excellent phrase "this dictatorship of relativism" -- ? Will you please stand up? Our President will be famous for his clutch of bad one-liners, particularly the ones ginned up by his speechwriters, but this one is a winner, because it reminds us of something we've known all along in a way that makes it seem newly important to discuss, and all with a perfect economy of speech. There is nothing to keep relativism from being mechanized in practice -- that is, turned into a system; so instead of chaos, which nobody can tolerate for any length of time, you get arbitrary will, which men (and to a lesser extent women) can tolerate for horrendous lengths of time.
This ought to reinforce our impression that there is something disappointing about systems, which will always let you down, because 'system' as we know it is such a thin, minimalist, abstract concept that it can apply to anything that can be endured. There is no doubt that we can endure relativism for a very long time, and I wouldn't be a very good Nietzschean sympathizer if I neglected to mention the importance for the maturity of a civilization that it does learn to tolerate relativism, or at least to survive amidst it.
Occasionally some worry that indulging a Nietzschean interest in beefing up the social strength by tempting dissolution, confusion, and ruin is an irresponsible way to do business. This would be true were (at least in our case) habit, memory, reason, faith, and indeed truth not so hard to beat from the bushes (sorry, Fred). The fact is the longer we all publicly contemplate the extent to which relativism demands from us not just dictatorship but social dictatorship which enslaves and humiliates normal human politics, the sooner we will learn how to treat it like the little trial that it is: dangerous for the neophyte, but not the majordomo.
Today's to-do list just got a little bit shorter.
Write a blog post that fits into a single sentence both the words 'neophyte' and 'majordomo'.