The Doubter’s Companion: Absolute

“Absolute: Nothing is absolute, with the debatable exception of this statement and death, which may explain why political and economic theories are presented so seriously.

Absolutism is a deadly serious business. If even a hair’s breadth of space is left around the edges of a theory, doubt may be able to squeeze through. The citizen may then begin to smile and wonder whether the intellectual justifications of power are really nonsense. Few within the expert elites see themselves as ideologues and yet they quite happily act as carriers of truth in whatever their field.

Whether it reveals the dictatorship of the proletariat or the virtues of privatization, truth is ideology. Not their truths, our elites say. They are simply delivering the inevitable conclusions of facts rationally organized. Absolutism is the weakness of others. Our elites have the good fortune simply to be right.”

Excerpted from: Saul, John Ralston. The Doubter’s Companion. New York: The Free Press, 1994.

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