Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Augustinian Pessimism

When I named this blog, I did so based on my proximity to a church named after St. Augustine and my fondness for the philosophy and theology of St. Augustine of Hippo. Today, while listening to Uncommon Knowledge, I stumbled upon an additional reason to keep the name.

Peter Robinson, interviewing Rupert Murdoch:

You started your career six decades ago, so you’ve seen the Cold War come and the Cold War go. You participated in the Reagan years. You were a journalist of importance in the Thatcher years and since. You’ve invested in China; you’ve invested in India. You have a global view, and a global view that’s calibrated to decades. Do you look at the United States and Britain today and see yourself in the position, say, of St. Augustine in the 4th century, 5th century, as he looks across the Mediterranean to Rome and realizes that his civilization is coming to an end. He still has a responsibility to do as much good as he can, but something that he treasures is ending. Or do you say, I’ve seen a lot of rough patches in my lifetime. We’re in another rough patch now. The underlying dynamism and strengths of this Anglo-American experiment in democracy will see us through yet again.

Murdoch gave a rather optimistic answer. My own outlook tends to pessimism. Mr. Robinson might even call it Augustinian.

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