Richard Rorty would create a social democracy, one that is, classless, casteless, and egalitarian.

And hence the confrontation with Donald Trump whose preferred society is authoritarian where class, caste, and inégalité rule.

Our tragedy: Richard Rorty’s books are no longer read while Donald Trump with no books or ideas to his name has millions of supporters hanging on his every word at the rallies.

Rorty: “My candidate for the most distinctive and praiseworthy human capacity is the ability to trust and to cooperate with other people, and in particular to work together so as to improve the future.

Under favourable circumstances, our use of this capacity culminates in utopian political projects such as Plato’s ideal state, Christian attempts to realize the kingdom of God here on earth, and Marx’s vision of the victory of the proletariat. At best these and other such projects aim at improving our institutions in such a way that our descendants will be still better able to trust and cooperate, will be more decent people than we ourselves have managed to be. At worst they are what they are.

In our century, the most plausible project of this sort has been the one to which Dewey devoted his political efforts: the creation of a social democracy; that is, a classless, casteless, egalitarian society.

William James and John Dewey gave us advice on how, by getting rid of the old dualisms, –appearance–reality, matter–mind, made–found, sensible–intellectual, etc., (what Dewey called ‘a brood and nest of dualisms’) we can make this humanitarian project central to our emotional, intellectual and political lives.

SO WOULDN’T I if in a better world I could, say create something whose founding would begin not with a Constitution in constant need of interpretation but perhaps with the words of Paul, in constant need of repetition, in his Epistle no. 4 to the Phillippians:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

By the way didn’t Paul try and fail to create such a world? And there are those who are still trying.


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