Monday, January 11, 2016

Who knows..........................

..............why this simple post has far and away more page views than any other post on this blog.  There have been other Adler quotes;  most received little traffic.  The subject post as taken from Mortimer J. Alder's essay Duty in his book, Great Ideas:  A Lexicon of Western Thought.  Just for our edification, here are a few more paragraphs from that essay:

      The tragedy of being both rational and animal seems to consist in having to choose between duty and desire rather than in making any particular choice.  It may be significant, however, that the tragic heroes of poetry more frequently abandon duty than desire or love, though seldom without moral punishment, preceded by a deep sense of their transgression. Sometimes, however, they are self-deceived, and cloak desire in the guise of duty.

     There is another source of tragic conflict in the sphere of duty.  Men are torn by competing loyalties, obligations which pull them in opposite directions.  In the basic relationships of family, the duty a  man owes to his parents often cannot be discharged without violating or neglecting obligations to his wife.  When the moral law and the law of the state command contrary actions, duty is weighed against duty in an ordeal of conscience...

     According to the theory of constitutional government, rights and duties are correlative.  Acknowledgment of duties signifies that the holder of rights recognizes their limited or conditional character.  To consider oneself  entirely exempt from duties or obligations is to regard one's rights as absolute.  Can anyone have absolute rights except on condition of being without a superior of any sort?  One implied answer to this question is that neither despot nor state, but only God, is autonomous or without duty.

No comments:

Post a Comment