Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Quote from Strauss

By virtue of his rationality, man has a latitude of alternatives such as no other earthly being has. The sense of this latitude, of this freedom, is accompanied by a sense that the full and unrestrained exercise of that freedom is not right. Man's freedom is accompanied by a sacred awe, by a kind of divination that not everything is permitted. We may call this awe-inspired fear "man's natural conscience." Restraint is therefore as natural or as primeval as freedom. As long as man has not cultivated his reason properly, he will have all sorts of fantastic notions as to the limits set to his freedom; he will elaborate absurd taboos. But what prompts the savages in their savage doings is not savagery but the divination of right.

- from Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss

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