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June 30, 2009



Though I think it's common to regard the general idea of "noblesse oblige" as being of Western European mint, I think it is actually one of the single most common factors across all civilizations. Wealth and power is in some sense reified by generosity and the will to do good. That sense remained powerful, I think, until the rise of modern socialism* which, in turn, may have been caused by failures of the noblesse oblige spirit during industrialization. We're still working on recovering that, and I'm not sure that our socialistic impulses will allow it beyond a rather circumscribed domain. It's a difficult thing, because I'm not sure the problems with that whole approach when carried into a global scale are soluble.

*The horrible results of imperialism being the other major factor discrediting the 'white man's burden' which of course was just a nationalist's noblesse oblige.

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History only repeats itself, well it's just only in other form but the same.

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