Wednesday, April 20, 2005

MH - What's In a Name?

Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO first directed us to this line of thought, elaborated upon in this piece from Roger Kimball at The New Criterion. (Thanks, K-Lo!)
The choice, as MacIntrye saw it, was twofold. On the one hand, we had to choose between Aristotle and Nietzsche--between a morality that embraced the traditional virtues and one that, proclaiming their bankruptcy, sought to "raze to the ground the inherited structures of moral belief and argument." On the other hand, MacIntyre argued, we had to choose between the utopian pessimism of Trotsky--that rancid utopianism that comes to despairing Marxists--and efforts to resuscitate that older, Aristotelean tradition of morality that had apparently--but only apparently--been discredited by the technologically audacious march or modernity. "If," MacIntyre concluded,

"the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another--doubtless very different--St. Benedict. Well, perhaps the elevation of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope Benedict XVI is a fulfillment of MacIntyre's wish. We shall see."

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