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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Conservatism's Apollo and would-be Dionysus.

What an intriguing juxtaposition in the New York Times this weekend! David Brooks pretends to let his inner Dionysus out for a romp after he caught himself enjoying a decadent night in New Orleans. He laments: "Gone, at least among the responsible professional class, is the exuberance of the feast." That's right, unbutton that top button and grow your hair out, David! Show that Mark Shields what carpe diem's all about.

But Francis Fukuyama, pondering the centenary of Max Weber's Protestantism and the Spirit of Capitalism, concludes that the "iron cage" Weber identified with the rise of modern capitalism is much nicer, really, than the religious ferment of a non-bureaucratized age. "One must wonder," he writes, "whether it was not Weber's nostalgia for spiritual authenticity — what one might term his Nietzscheanism — that was misplaced, and whether living in the iron cage of modern rationalism is such a terrible thing after all." I suspect Brooks was only pretending to take up the Dionysian perspective and that he shares Fukuyama's Apollonian predisposition. Although Brooks is just playing around, Fukuyama's essay is actually well worth reading.

("Saturday Night Lite," David Brooks, New York Times 3.12.05, reg req'd; "The Calvinist Manifesto," Francis Fukuyama, New York Times Book Review 3.13.05, reg req'd)

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 13 March 2005 at 10:43 PM

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March 14, 2005 06:55 PM | Permalink for this comment


Severe Camille Paglia flashback!



March 14, 2005 08:36 PM | Permalink for this comment

Nice column, well stated. By the way, your trackback function seems to be out of order. I tried unsuccessfully to "ping" your blog, and then noticed that you have no other sites that have linked back to yours (at least as far as I looked).

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