Saturday, June 30, 2007

Philip Rieff Again:

Don't fret if this seems convoluted and abstruse. You can trust your visceral sense of it. In an effort to help, however, I've rearranged the sequence of the texts somewhat in order to make Rieff's point clearer than his posthumous editors have.
The liberal defense of these transgressions must inevitably bring liberalism itself crashing down, for in that defense, the liberals are defending the destruction of avoidance mechanisms which are necessary to the practice of liberalism itself. ...

The critical nineteenth- and early twentieth-century [anthropological] interest in taboo as a pejorative term for the interdictory structure of taboo in social organization has now resulted in a transgressive attack on all the interdicts, precisely among the educated classes. ...

... the true savagery comes after the success of the liberal and critical attack on the supposed irrationality of the laws of uncleanness and on the assumption that all prohibitions are somehow primitive and unjustifiable.

... It is the thrust against the interdicts that is giving the savage god his true opportunity.
From: Charisma: The Gift of Grace, and How It Has Been Taken Away from Us, p. 12-13.

I may not have a chance to post again before leaving Monday for the Colloquium on Violence and Religion conference in Amsterdam. If the opportunity arises for me to post from the conference, I will. Otherwise, I'll check in from Chicago after the conference. I'll be there meeting with a number of those helping us arrange for the Emmaus Road Initiative venue in Wheaton.

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