glyph 338: reformations . integrity . epistemology ... Erasmus, Luther, Reformation ... Max Eastman, Solzhenitzyn ... Voltaire ... Bastiat, Mises ... Robert Conquest ... and their heirs determine the "fate of civilization"


Max Eastman to Corliss Lamont (1938)

importance of truth; danger of useful political lies

Nothing is of greater importance to the accelerating emergence of freeorder than the evolution of standards of truth, the evolution of ways of deciding what we will bet on as most likely to do us good. There is a fascinating phenomenon, repeated throughout history, wherein people of integrity begin to see the errors of a widely accepted doctrine which has generated enthusiasm and commitment even while doing great harm. The Reformation, Erasmus, Luther, was one such occasion. Here is a fragment from another. The entire letter is worth reading. -leif

Max Eastman: A Letter to Corliss Lamont (1938)

Although so clearly seeing that lying to the masses was an essential ingredient of Stalinist policy, and so solemnly abjuring it for yourself, you continued to run with the Stalinist chiefs. You never exposed their political lies, or said publicly what you said to me in private. For a very long time you played friends with both Lie Communists and Truth Communists, and gave your money with one hand to the Stalinists and with the other to independent revolutionary papers which still believed that scientific integrity and honest education of the masses is essential to the proletarian movement. Anybody who plays both sides in quiet times will be found in a crisis on the side with power. And in the issue between truth and political lying, between science and Jesuitism, between intelligence and blind bigotry, between education and indoctrination, between the enlightment and manipulation of public opinion, between the life of reason and the totalitarian state of mind - and that is the paramount issue upon which in this day the fate of civilization rests ... — Kant, on Enlightenment
Thu, Aug 10, 2006; edited/updated February 10, 2018

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