Institutions progress but human beings don’t

Institutions progress but human beings don’t, and their capacity for cruelty and violence is infinite.

A pessimistic thought, to be sure. But British philosopher Roger Scruton is rather optimistic about pessimism. Indeed, in The Uses of Pessimism he prescribes “a dose” of that very tendency as the tonic for the kind of utopian thinking indulged in by thinkers such as Badiou and Zizek. We should respond to their irrational exuberance and “unscrupulous optimism”, he suggests, through respect for custom and tradition; the “we” of unruffled compromise and gradual mutuality.


the monochrom blog - archive of everything