Monday, December 28, 2009

The love of truth is weaker than the love of power

In chapter four of In Praise of Prejudice, Dalrymple explains why it is that social engineers prefer a history of disaster to a history of achievement.
A country whose problems, by comparison with those of all other countries are minor, and disproportionately caused by the inherent and inescapable difficulties of human existence…rather than by defective political arrangements, does not necessarily please the intellectuals, who are left with nothing, or nothing very much, to think about and rectify.
This is why history often has to be revised—to justify taking power and making radical political alterations.
If history is indeed but the record of extreme nastiness, then we have nothing to learn from it except that we, who of course are people of unalloyed good will, must do things—everything—differently in the future.
And if this means we must to sacrifice historical truth for political power, well then, so be it.
The love of truth, while it exists, is generally weaker than the love of power.

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