Sunday, September 7, 2008

Areopagitica

"When there is much desire to learn,
there of necessity will be much arguing,
much writing, many opinions; for opinion
in good men is but knowledge in the making."


Milton, Areopagitica

This essay on free speech is probably the best argument I make to myself as to why I went to college. I think of myself as a auto-didact; I read constantly, and try to challenge myself -- not too much, that way lies reader's block. But stretching.

Still, I never ever in a million years would have read this essay if it hadn't been assigned. In fact, some of the most memorable things I read in college came about the same way. And it wasn't the practical stuff that I would've thought I needed or wanted at the time that has stuck with me, but the more general philosophies and intellectual thesis's, the ethical and moral literature, that has served me best.

Areopagitica.!? Talk about being put off.

I expected a dry, boring impenetrable philosophy tract. John Milton?

Instead, I found a fascinating and deeply thought-provoking argument against censorship. This is an issue that never goes away. In the internet age, his arguments are more cogent and concise than ever; in fact, I think I need to go back and read it again. If I remember rightly, it wasn't a chore. His language was beautiful and poetic, as well.

Probably anyone who writes a blog, especially on politics, should read it.

5 comments:

Duncan McGeary said...

Ugh. Politics.

Can someone come here and tell me when IHTBYB is back to talking about real estate again?

What a complete waste of time.

Knee-jerk reactions.

Every asshole has an opinion.

arggghhhh.

Wake me up on Nov. 5.

Duncan McGeary said...

Areopagitica = "Every asshole has an opinion."

Or is it, every opinion has an asshole?

How much reasoned discourse is really happening? How much of it is regurgitated crap?

Ask yourself when the last time you actually heard a reasoned argument in our political culture? And then a reasoned response?

Deeply though-provoking arguments?

I hate to say it, but I think William Buckley's show was the last time I saw such a thing.

bruce said...

Dunc, your comments following your post are rather ironic.

Less than 60 days and it'll be over.

Duncan McGeary said...

Yep.

Opposite ends of the spectrum.

But all speech....

Michael said...

Hi Duncan

You're catching a little of the hopelessness flu that's floating around. Take a breath, go for a walk, hug your wife.

Still hopeless? Have a good beer or glass of wine and toast to the good days you've enjoyed. This too shall pass.

Thanks for the blog,
Michael