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ERIC Number: EJ984413
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
The Razor's Edge
Fox, Robin
Academic Questions, v25 n1 p11-27 Mar 2012
Civilization is always a work in progress. Every civilization is an experiment in how far people can shift themselves from the evolutionary norm of the small, kinship-integrated tribal society governed by ritual and custom to any kind of society either more complex in structure or less tribal in foundation. People assume that given intelligence and foresight there is no limit to where they can move. They can write their own rules, design their own futures. "The razor's edge" is where the author believes liberal democratic societies are poised, for though people regard such societies "as the natural outcome of natural human impulses", they are really "dangerously late arrivers on the human scene and, to be brutal, they are still fragile experiments whose viability has not been sufficiently tested. Far from being natural outcomes of human nature they are heroic attempts to defy human nature". Memorably evoking his own "socialization into Western culture in a northern provincial town in the England of the 1930s through the 1950s", the author emphasizes the importance of teaching Western culture in its particularity and uniqueness, while still maintaining its invigorating openness. (Contains 7 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)