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The Resource Voltaire's bastards : the dictatorship of reason in the West, John Ralston Saul

Voltaire's bastards : the dictatorship of reason in the West, John Ralston Saul

Label
Voltaire's bastards : the dictatorship of reason in the West
Title
Voltaire's bastards
Title remainder
the dictatorship of reason in the West
Statement of responsibility
John Ralston Saul
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
  • In a wide-ranging, provocative anatomy of modern society and its origins, novelist and historian John Ralston Saul explores the reason for our deepening sense of crisis and confusion. Throughout the Western world we talk endlessly of individual freedom, yet Saul shows that there has never before been such pressure for conformity. Our business leaders describe themselves as capitalists, yet most are corporate employees and financial speculators. We are obsessed with competition, yet the single largest item of international trade is a subsidized market in armaments. We call our governments democracies, yet few of us participate in politics. We complain about "invasive government," yet our legal, educational, financial, social, cultural and legislative systems are breaking down. While most observers view these problems separately, Saul demonstrates that they are largely manifestations of our blind faith in the value of reason. Over the last 400 years, our "rational elites" have gradually instituted reforms in every phase of social life. But Saul shows that they have also been responsible for most of the difficulties and violence of the same period. This paradox arises from a simple truth which our elites deny: far from being a moral force, reason is no more than an administrative method. Their denial has helped to turn the modern West into a vast, incomprehensible, directionless machine, run by process-minded experts - "Voltaire's bastards"--Whose cult of scientific management is bereft of both sense and morality. Whether in politics, art, business, the military, entertainment, science, finance, academia or journalism, these experts share the same outlook and methods. The result, Saul maintains, is a civilization of immense technological power whose peoples increasingly dwell in a world of illusion. Already known to millions of readers as the author of novels which portray the overwhelming effects of this power on the modern individual by weaving together international finance, the oil and arms business, guerrilla warfare, drug traffic, and the world of art, here Saul lays aside the mask of fiction to speak in his own voice. Only by withdrawing from our addiction to "solutions," he argues, reclaiming the citizens' right to question and participate in public life, and recovering a common sense capacity for intelligent panic, can we find a way out of our permanent crisis
  • In a wide-ranging, provocative anatomy of modern society and its origins, novelist and historian John Ralston Saul explores the reason for our deepening sense of crisis and confusion. Throughout the Western world we talk endlessly of individual freedom, yet Saul shows that there has never before been such pressure for conformity. Our business leaders describe themselves as capitalists, yet most are corporate employees and financial speculators. We are obsessed with competition, yet the single largest item of international trade is a subsidized market in armaments. We call our governments democracies, yet few of us participate in politics. We complain about "invasive government," yet our legal, educational, financial, social, cultural and legislative systems are breaking down. While most observers view these problems separately, Saul demonstrates that they are largely manifestations of our blind faith in the value of reason. Over the last 400 years, our "rational elites" have gradually instituted reforms in every phase of social life. But Saul shows that they have also been responsible for most of the difficulties and violence of the same period. This paradox arises from a simple truth which our elites deny: far from being a moral force, reason is no more than an administrative method. Their denial has helped to turn the modern West into a vast, incomprehensible, directionless machine, run by process-minded experts - "Voltaire's bastards" - whose cult of scientific management is bereft of both sense and morality. Whether in politics, art, business, the military, entertainment, science, finance, academia or journalism, these experts share the same outlook and methods. The result, Saul maintains, is a civilization of immense technological power whose peoples increasingly dwell in a world of illusion. Already known to millions of readers as the author of novels which portray the overwhelming effects of this power on the modern individual by weaving together international finance, the oil and arms business, guerrilla warfare, drug traffic, and the world of art, here Saul lays aside the mask of fiction to speak in his own voice. Only by withdrawing from our addiction to "solutions," he argues, reclaiming the citizens' right to question and participate in public life, and recovering a common sense capacity for intelligent panic, can we find a way out of our permanent crisis
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1947-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Saul, John Ralston
Dewey number
909/.09821
Index
index present
LC call number
BC177
LC item number
.S28 1992
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Reason
  • Rationalism
  • Civilization, Western
  • Raison
  • Rationalisme
  • Civilisation occidentale
  • Civilisation
  • Histoire sociale
  • Histoire
  • Histoire
  • Célébrités
  • Artistes
  • Rationalität
  • Krise
  • Moderne
Label
Voltaire's bastards : the dictatorship of reason in the West, John Ralston Saul
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [587]-618) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
pt. I. Argument. 1. In which the Narrator Positions Himself. 2. The Theology of Power. 3. The Rise of Reason. 4. The Rational Courtesan. 5. Voltaire's Children. 6. The Flowering of Armaments -- pt. II. Scenes from a System That Doesn't Work. 7. The Question of Killing. 8. Learning How to Organize Death. 9. Persistent Continuity at the Heart of Power. 10. In the Service of the Greater Self. 11. Three Short Excursions into the Unreasonable. 12. The Art of the Secret. 13. The Secretive Knight. 14. Of Princes and Heroes. 15. The Hero and the Politics of Immortality. 16. The Hijacking of Capitalism. 17. The Miracle of the Loaves -- pt. III. Surviving in Fantasy Land: The Individual in the World of Reason. 18. Images of Immortality or The Victory of Idolatry. 19. Life in a Box -- Specialization and the Individual. 20. The Stars. 21. The Faithful Witness. 22. The Virtue of Doubt
Control code
25628820
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
x, 640 pages
Isbn
9780029277256
Lccn
92000386
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(WaOLN)1478798
Label
Voltaire's bastards : the dictatorship of reason in the West, John Ralston Saul
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [587]-618) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
pt. I. Argument. 1. In which the Narrator Positions Himself. 2. The Theology of Power. 3. The Rise of Reason. 4. The Rational Courtesan. 5. Voltaire's Children. 6. The Flowering of Armaments -- pt. II. Scenes from a System That Doesn't Work. 7. The Question of Killing. 8. Learning How to Organize Death. 9. Persistent Continuity at the Heart of Power. 10. In the Service of the Greater Self. 11. Three Short Excursions into the Unreasonable. 12. The Art of the Secret. 13. The Secretive Knight. 14. Of Princes and Heroes. 15. The Hero and the Politics of Immortality. 16. The Hijacking of Capitalism. 17. The Miracle of the Loaves -- pt. III. Surviving in Fantasy Land: The Individual in the World of Reason. 18. Images of Immortality or The Victory of Idolatry. 19. Life in a Box -- Specialization and the Individual. 20. The Stars. 21. The Faithful Witness. 22. The Virtue of Doubt
Control code
25628820
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
x, 640 pages
Isbn
9780029277256
Lccn
92000386
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(WaOLN)1478798

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