While reading through some UU blogs this mornings  (I just love Discover UU, as I’m always finding a new UU blog to read there) I stumbled upon the blog CAUTE by Andrew James Brown, A Christian UU minister from England who also plays and teaches jazz/bass.  According to his About Me profile, he’s also involved in teaching at the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths in Cambridge (UK).

A section of a book review he posted got my attention. It was a review of Quack, Quack! by Leonard Woolf, from The Listener 1935
(reprinted in: Michael Roberts – selected poems and prose edited by Frederick Grubb, Carcanet Press, Manchester 1980, p. 109).

Reason can show us how a thing can best be done, but it cannot modify or co-ordinate our basic inclinations, as religion and poetry attempt to do, and as the politician needs to do. We need some criteria of right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, as well as of truth and falsity, and we need to persuade others to accept those criteria. The problem is not to destroy all rhetoric but to teach people to distinguish between good rhetoric and bad, good poetry and bad. The liberal-rationalist assumes that he can get on without rhetoric or poetic use of language at all, and that every relation of power between individuals is bad: consequently he speaks only to people like himself, and the field is left to the quacks with their false rhetoric, their sentimental poetry and their bullying use of the power of personality.

The search for truth and meaning continues….

2 thoughts on “Quack

  1. Greetings Tony, nice to see you found something useful on my blog and for adding a link to it. My best wishes to you and I’ll take a spin around your own site.

    One little note – but important nonetheless – is that I’m not a UU minister. In the UK there is a different history and the British churches are “Unitarian and Free Christian”. There is an ongoing debate here as to whether the national British church structure should adopt some set of Purposes and Principles like the UUA (which I would strongly resist) but, for the moment at least, our national object still includes the important clause “to uphold the liberal Christian tradtion.” That’s something I certainly try to do.

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