Thursday, December 11, 2008

Empress Maria Theresa on Freedom



Royal World offers an intriguing quote from the Empress Maria Theresa:
Nothing is more pleasant, nothing more suitable to flatter our egos as a freedom without restrictions. "Freedom" is the word with which our enlightened century wants to replace religion. One condemns the whole past as a time of ignorance and prejudice, while knowing nothing of that past and very little of the present. If I could see these so-called enlightened figures, these philosophes, more fortunate in their work and happier in their private lives, then I would accuse myself of bias, pride, prepossession, and obstinacy for not adjusting to them. But unfortunately daily experience teaches me the opposite. No one is weaker, no one more spiritless than these strong spirits; no one more servile, no one more despairing at the least misfortune as they. They are bad fathers, sons, husbands, ministers, generals, and citizens. And why? Because they lack substance. All of their philosophy, all of their axioms are conceived only in their egotism; the slightest disappointment crushes them beyond hope, with no resources to fall back upon. ~ Empress Maria Theresa
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1 comment:

Between Europe and China said...

Dear Elena Maria, what good comment the Empress made! It would be so dangerous to base everything on abstract reason instead of affection, as affection, which might even be biased, germs from your feelings towards those who are dearest to you, thus is closer to human nature; while reason stripped off affection could only lead to terror instead of the freedom it promised. Such was the case with the French Revolution, which drew its notion from the Enlightenment, especially from radical thinkers like Rousseau; such was also the case with the Chinese communist revolution, with its guiding notion being based on 'the conflicts among social classes'(the so-called marxist reason) overriding any form of affection, even that between parents and children by encouraging family members to accuse one another of being'anti-revolutionary' during the peak of the Cultural Revolution.
Furui