In Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Neil Postman quotes a passage from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden:
We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate…we are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the old world some weeks nearer to the new; but perchance the first news that will lead through into the broad flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.
In my introductory article to this series, I argued that, in the socially saturated context of online media, social justice discourse frequently functions as a means of fashioning and maintaining our public image.
Writing almost two decades ago, René Girard—who devoted most of his life to exploring the issues of social contagion, scapegoating, victims, and the cults that surround them—warned against the rise of what he termed a ‘victimology’ movement.
This is one of the articles in the second issue of our journal Ad Fontes.
Where did society come from? How did politics come about? Why do people live together? Perhaps these aren’t questions that you’ve ever asked before. But political thinkers from Plato through to Rawls have tackled questions about the social nature of humans, and how it is that we get into political situations in the first place. It’s the question, the problem, if you will, of the origins of society. Read more…