Sunday, August 8, 2010

p. 91 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

What is the "historical school" embraced by Marx and Calhoun, and why was it opposed by Aristotle, Jefferson, and Lincoln?

Relevant Passages: The historical school rejected Aristotle's best regime for the same reason that it had rejected natural rights-because it represented a nonhistorical judgment concerning the human condition. Aristotle, like Jefferson and Lincoln, believed that fundamental principles were timeless and placeless, which meant that they existed outside of history.

The historical school saw no need for a doctrine of the best regime, because it was confident that the historical process itself was essentially a controlled movement toward an ever more perfect human condition. In essence, this meant that the best regime was intrinsic to the historical process. It might in fact be called "the end of history," implying both senses of the word "end"-the termination of a series of events and the ultimate fulfillment of a purpose.

Personal note: Milton Friedman is also susceptible to the historical school. When Peter Robinson asked him on Uncommon Knowledge why he was always so optimistic, Friedman responded saying that each decade is better than the one that preceded it and he had no doubt that the spread of free commerce would make that continue.

No comments:

Post a Comment