Thursday, November 24, 2011

Solway's essay on "The Death of the Individual"

David Solway's latest post is well worth reading in its entirety, and not just for this memorable line:

"when it comes to the cynics, there’s no cure like a sinecure."

I confess, as I read this article sympathetically my impatience was nevertheless such that I had to scroll down to see when and if he would refer to Kierkegaard, and sure enough, found the reference I was anticipating at the very end, a veritable coup de grace.

I could not help but notice, however, that for Solway, Kierkegaard remains a "Danish philosopher." The question I have for Solway and for his readers, as well as readers of Hayek (whom he quotes with approval) is this: Why must the positive view of the individual expressed here continually drive those concerned for individual freedom and potential to the atheist Ayn Rand, or to Kierkegaard as individualistic philosopher (an unjust caricature if there ever was one), rather than to Kierkegaard the exegete of Christian scripture, the author of Christian Discourses, whose "philosophy" was tested and inspired by the New Testament at every point? For it sure seems to me that if a properly formed response to the barbarian collectivism of the left is to be offered, conservatism will have to do better than a merely secular individualism. Perhaps the coming bicentennial (2013) may yet afford an honest reappraisal of Kierkegaard's vocation and inspiration, but I am not optimistic, no more so than when a great thinker who calls for a radical return to founding principles can see no further than The Federalist Papers, or at most the rise of the individual in the West, i.e., when such a thinker fails to hear the Word Incarnate assuring him that the heavenly Father has accounted for every hair on his individual head. 

This critical question aside, let there be no doubt that there are few writers working today as insightful and articulate as Solway.

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