By Jacques Ellul
Jacques Ellul-much much less solemn in temper than usual-here cracks open political and sociological commonplaces, destructively and wittily demonstrating how our unthinking reputation of them encourages hypocrisy, smugness, and psychological inertia. one of the stereotypes of proposal and speech therefore exploded are such words as "You cannot act with out getting your fingers soiled" "Work is freedom" "We needs to persist with the present of heritage" and "Women locate their freedom (dignity) in paintings" a undeniable variety of those outdated saws preside over our way of life. they enable us to appreciate each other and to swim within the usual present of society. they're accredited as so sure that we virtually by no means query them. They serve right away as enough causes for every thing and as "clinchers" in too many arguments. Ellul explores the ways that such clichés misinform us and stop us from having self sufficient thoughts-and in reality continue us from dealing with the issues to which they're theoretically addressed. they're the "new commonplaces" simply because the 19th century introduced forth many such commonplaces (they are enshrined in Leon Bloy's Exégése and Flaubert's Dictionnaire des idées reçues), so our century has been busy developing its personal. What Ellul has performed is to face nonetheless lengthy sufficient to examine them conscientiously, assault them with cool cause, and depart them nakedly uncovered. during this notable record, Ellul's caustic fearlessness is on the carrier of truths that regularly are merciless, yet continually are lucid and impassioned. He represents the voice of intelligence, and whereas doing so is frequently hilarious and continually healing approximately issues of first significance.
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Extra resources for A critique of the new commonplaces.
Army part is is to keep that this its The first duty of the French hands clean. Surely the most remarkable for honor and purity comes from demand who despise the army. These days we are in the habit of permitting everything and excusing everything in our party, our friends, and our those allies, and reserving moral criticism for our enemies. There A Critique of the New Commonplaces [ 47 was a time when the dignity of man implied the opposite behavior! China invades Tibet for no reason, either military or economic: a pure war of conquest, pure aggression.
For the Ameri- So everyone hastens to prove that he fascists as well as the freedom and cans, of course, since the future belongs to democracy, they are the ones who And even come up with of-hand the Christians have tricks nates in an demonstrating that omega that history has God. To its are on the right track. human a few sleight- history culmi- that happens to be Christ, or proving natural conclusion in the Kingdom of arguments it is enough been constructed only to accommodate the commonplace that gives the greatest satisfaction to modern man, and that this commonplace is used in an attempt to justify various ideas.
This intellectualizing is Dirty hands are not the result of a decision or a commit- ment. The person monplace who protects himself behind this com- aware that he is none too clean and pretends choice, but this is far from the truth. The man who affects the grime of the worker is in reality immersed in a very different kind of filth. And when someone tells you that you have to get your hands dirty, it means that he is up to his eyes in the septic tank. The commonplace about dirty hands does not imply, as people seem to that this is is by think, that everything else and that is quite clean and well scrubbed, after all you've got to get your hands into the A Critique of the New Commonplaces dishwater, but that fortunately in these not far toilet is [ 43 modern houses the from the shower.