08 January 2007

antagonism & victimization

"The next day, though, [Jane] Addams and [John] Dewey got into an argument. It was an argument about argument. Addams said she believed that antagonism was always unnecessary. It never arose from real, objective differences, she told Dewey, 'but from a person's mixing in his own personal reactions -- the extra emphasis he gave the truth, the enjoyment he took in doing a thing because it was unpalatable to others, or the feeling that one must show his own colors.' If Christ drove the moneychangers out of the temple, she said, so much the worse for Christianity. The Civil War, too, showed the futulity of antagonism: 'we freed the slaves by war & and [sic] had now to free them all over again individually, & pay the costs of the war & reckon with the added bitterness of the Southerner beside'." -- The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand, p. 313.

Thoughts of Iraq and how the antagonism there just worsens life for everyone, or at least for those that aren't dead yet.

And how desire to avoid antagonism can lead to exploitation ... and, here, it gets personal, way too personal.

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