The Pulitzer granted to Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve caused me to revisit R.R. Reno’s prescient First Things review, which suggests the book offers “a justifying mythology for America’s ruling elite.”
The Swerve [blusters] again and again about the beauty-loathing, eros-denying evils of Christianity… sighing in the usual postmodern way about pleasure and desire. But on one point Greenblatt is true to On the Nature of Things, and this is the therapy of disenchantment. “Human insignificance—the fact that it is not all about us and our fate—is, Lucretius insisted, good news.” Indeed it is good news for Harvard professors, and for anyone else in positions of power. As materialism disenchants, the principles and norms and standards by which we can hold the powerful accountable melt away.
On my way to Harvard square with my djembe and didgeridoo. Who’s with me?