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A critique of the new commonplaces. by Jacques Ellul

By Jacques Ellul

Jacques Ellul-much much less solemn in temper than usual-here cracks open political and sociological commonplaces, destructively and wittily demonstrating how our unthinking reputation of them encourages hypocrisy, smugness, and psychological inertia. one of the stereotypes of notion and speech hence exploded are such words as "You cannot act with no getting your fingers soiled" "Work is freedom" "We needs to persist with the present of background" and "Women locate their freedom (dignity) in paintings" a undeniable variety of those outdated saws preside over our lifestyle. they allow us to appreciate each other and to swim within the usual present of society. they're accredited as so yes that we virtually by no means query them. They serve straight away as enough causes for every thing and as "clinchers" in too many arguments. Ellul explores the ways that such clichés deceive us and forestall us from having self sustaining thoughts-and actually continue us from dealing with the issues to which they're theoretically addressed. they're the "new commonplaces" simply because the 19th century introduced forth many such commonplaces (they are enshrined in Leon Bloy's Exégése and Flaubert's Dictionnaire des idées reçues), so our century has been busy growing its personal. What Ellul has performed is to face nonetheless lengthy adequate to examine them rigorously, assault them with cool cause, and go away them nakedly uncovered. during this amazing record, Ellul's caustic fearlessness is on the carrier of truths that frequently are merciless, yet constantly are lucid and impassioned. He represents the voice of intelligence, and whereas doing so is frequently hilarious and regularly healing approximately issues of first significance.

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Is. It goes without saying that these heroes with their dirty hands have them only figuratively, by mediation or by proxy. " and the intellectual who supports the cause of the worker is ennobled by this dirt. The politician has dirty hands, and the professor who signs a manifesto profits by a few dabs of this reeking slime. It is the guarantee that you are not a useless person, an idle gers. The worker has talker. dirty hands, You support the sacred cause you are using politics ( which is Or else work for a of the worker.

The producers of commonplaces overflow with good they aspire to values that are uncertain but that they will; And confirm merely by expressing them. the operation is no longer, as in many moraliwhat happens by the invocation of turns out to be complex. It ties, a case of justifying values, or of formulating principles without reference to and we have seen reality; that, contrary to the places of the preceding period, that fixed in adages. is Nor it is is it common- no longer practice itself a case of a veil of morality covering an immoral situation, which would correspond to the situation of bourgeois hypocrisy.

For, then USSR, the Communist Party, social- ately proclaims the conviction of the against, then for the ism, etc. What does he care about the effect that this has on the thousands of young people about-faces, his palinodes? disorients them, that What who What him in his it matter that he crises of conscience? does he provokes follow it matter that by his abrupt turns, which they is preparing them to become a flock that is susceptible to propaganda, that will follow any leader at all does follow, he after this prestigious philosopher?

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