Relatives and Absolutes
by Max Savelle - 1939
This is an essay on democracy. Not absolute democracy, for Mr. Barzun doesn't believe in absolutes. "Damn the absolute," quotes he from William James, and his book is a neat little expression of the relativism of the Twentieth Century mind. One rises from the reading with a sense of having been entertained by a smart young man, and with a warm glow of satisfaction that one is not a fascist or a nazi, but that one lives in a republic where relative democracy and relative freedom and relative culture make it relatively the best of all relatively good places to live. This little essay is not very original nor very profound, as essays go, but it is clever, amusing, and provocative.
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