Ed Driscoll

Quote of the Day

Burning down the house:

Ortega y Gasset, the great Spanish philosopher of the 1930s, described what he called the “modern barbarian.” “The modern barbarian,” he wrote in The Revolt of the Masses, “is a person who looks at the highly complex modern society and takes it to be a natural object.” People think that apples and oranges appear in the neighborhood grocery the same way they grow on trees. They do not perceive the highly complex social network that makes these things possible. Nor do they appreciate its fragility. “Whenever there is a shortage of bread,” wrote Ortega y Gasset, “the first thing people do is burn down the bakeries.”

— William Tucker, “Running America on Hot Air,” in the American Spectator, May 30th, 2001. Note that despite a tumultuous decade, in so many ways, little seems to have changed in the preceding interim.