March 14, 2008
David Mamet, the terse and edgy playwright recently celebrating the deposit of his archives with the University of Texas, undergoes, or at least publicly registers, a change in his political perspective, or self-identification. How encouraging! As he had said to an admiring student, "politics is not difficult to understand -- the only things you need are literacy and a brain." The Daily Texan appears not to have weighed in on the latest developments.
J. Budziszewski, also from these parts,
offers a satisfyingly gentle and muscular [as per Diogenes] analysis of Nature, second nature, and how we cooperate, but do not -- cannot -- independently effect our own moral improvement.
Change of heart, then, is always a possibility. The difficulty is that moral reform is not simply a process of adding good qualities and subtracting bad ones. ... Aristotle wasn't wrong about the inclination to virtue; we really are attracted to it. What he overlooked was the difficulty of following this inclination, and the countervailing inclination to vice. Real moral development labors under terrible burdens and paradoxes.
For those with ears to "hear," read it.
As Dante wrote, now our minds are smoke, but some day that smoke will be fire.