62 Am. J. Juris. 119 (2017)
Simpson's Political Illiberalism restores to its proper place in political theory Plato's thesis that bad music imperils the whole culture and polity, a thesis ignored with utter recklessness in contemporary liberal practice and, for the most part, theory. But Simpson's elaboration of the thesis over-simplifies the characteristics of Bach's (and later) "modern" music that make it dangerous, somewhat in the way that the Providential "composing" of human history, with all its complexities, involves discord and danger. One such hazardous complexity is the addition of prophetic divine revelation ("Jerusalem") to the achievements of (divinely given) human reason exercised in natural science and philosophy ("Athens"). The eventual completion of revelation includes the lapidary "Render to Caesar ... " formula, the two poles of which our soi-disant liberal doctrines about public good characteristically reduce to one. These Notes, complementary to Simpson's book, suggest that such a unilateral prioritizing of public peace over truth is inherently prejudicial to the political community's more fundamental common good, a common good prejudiced also by parallel failings at the ecclesiastical pole.
John M. Finnis,
Truth and Complexity: Notes on Music and Liberalism,
62 Am. J. Juris. 119 (2017).
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