June 05, 2006

In the Last Days of Bill Clinton's...

...administration all we heard about was his legacy. He was said to have cared deeply about it despite his pardoning people at the end of his second term in exchange for contributions to his library, at least by appearances. Michael Burleigh writes in Earthly Powers:
Fame, the opinion of posterity, displaced the judgement of God. As Diderot wrote: 'Posterity is to the philosopher what the next world is to the religious man.'
Another neat observation from the book is:
There was not a great gulf between Jansenists who believed that God had turned away from a corrupt world and philosophical Deists who claimed that, in the absence of providential intervention after the initial act of creation, the natural world functioned like a clock according to the laws which science might uncover.

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