Voltaire's Bastards

Voltaire's Bastards

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With a new introduction by the author, this a€œerudite and brilliantly readable booka€ (The Observer, London) astutely dissects the political, economic and social origins of Western civilization to reveal a culture cripplingly enslaved to crude notions of rationality and expertise. The Western world is full of paradoxes. We talk endlessly of individual freedom, yet wea€™ve never been under more pressure to conform. Our business leaders describe themselves as capitalists, yet most are corporate employees and financial speculators. We call our governments democracies, yet few of us participate in politics. We complain about invasive government, yet our legal, educational, financial, social, cultural and legislative systems are deteriorating. All these problems, John Ralston Saul argues, are largely the result of our blind faith in the value of reason. Over the past 400 years, our a€œrational elitesa€ have turned the modern West into a vast, incomprehensible, directionless machine, run by process-minded expertsa€”a€œVoltairea€™s bastardsa€a€”whose cult of scientific management is empty of both sense and morality. Whether in politics, art, business, the military, entertainAsment, science, finance, academia or journalism, these experts share the same outlook and methods. The result, Saul maintains, is a civilization of immense technological power whose ordinary citizens are increasingly excluded from the decision-making process. In this wide-ranging anatomy of modern society and its originsa€”whose a€œpages explode with insight, style and intellectual rigora€ (Camille Paglia, The Washington Post)a€”Saul presents a shattering critique of the political, economic and cultural estabAslishments of the West.All these problems, John Ralston Saul argues, are largely the result of our blind faith in the value of reason.

Title:Voltaire's Bastards
Author:John Ralston Saul
Publisher:Simon and Schuster - 2012-12-25


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