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 popularity of them encourages hypocrisy, smugness, and psychological inertia. one of the stereotypes of concept and speech hence exploded are such words as "You cannot act with no getting your arms soiled" "Work is freedom" "We needs to keep on with the present of heritage" and "Women locate their freedom (dignity) in paintings" a undeniable variety of those outdated saws preside over our everyday life. they enable us to appreciate each other and to swim within the usual present of society. they're authorized as so convinced that we nearly by no means query them. They serve instantly as adequate factors for every thing and as "clinchers" in too many arguments. Ellul explores the ways that such clichés lie to us and forestall us from having self sustaining thoughts-and in reality retain 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 developing its personal. What Ellul has performed is to face nonetheless lengthy sufficient to examine them conscientiously, assault them with cool cause, and depart them nakedly uncovered. during this extraordinary rfile, Ellul's caustic fearlessness is on the provider 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 consistently healing approximately concerns of first value.
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Additional info for A critique of the new commonplaces
When we examine these heroes committed to dirty hands, we soon observe that there is no conscience more demanding, more lofty, more moral than theirs for their adversaries. Those who agree to get their hands dirty, who make this enormous sacrifice for the sake of the action that must be taken, turn out to be amazingly scrupulous when it comes to their enemies It is paragon of and our heroes squawk virtue, the adversary : they must who must become have clean hands. like as soon as they discover the tiniest spot of a guinea hens mud on the hands of the enemy.
What is a people? This seems like an innocent question, but just try to answer it! Is it a language? Then let us hasten to ask the one hundred and seventy-nine linguistic groups of the USSR if they became independent when the liberating power was directly substituted for the colonizing power of the czars. Then let's ask ourselves what China did in Tibet. And shall we side with Tshombe because Katanga does not have the same language as the province of Leopold ville? And let's break up Cameroun, where ten or twelve lan- guages are spoken.
When it is crystallized possesses the force of the object, of course, but also it its own end. To expose we must address ourthose bourgeois intellectuals who formulate the the society of tomorrow, who create the right limitation. ), common agreement beyond groups and professions, who the who superficial 2 7 express the divisions of spread the noble sentiments on which the society claims to be founded. And the more these formulas win the support of men of opposite parties and warring classes, the closer we are to the commonplace.