Commonplace Book #121

In fact, [Robert Maynard] Hutchins continues, by splitting the human lifeworld in the way they do, positivism and pragmatism leave us with “a colossal confusion of means and ends.  Wealth and power become the ends of life,” because the realm of value is the realm of opinion, in which I seek nothing more than easy justification for my desires.  “Men become merely means.  Justice is the interest of the stronger.”  This corrupted and simplistic approach to decision-making, in which we have no higher ends than the satisfaction of our immediate desires, happens when “moral and intellectual and artistic and spiritual development…receive the fag ends of our attention and our superluous funds.  We no longer attempt to justify education by its contribution to moral, intellectual, artistic, and spiritual growth.”

Alan Jacobs, The Year of Our Lord, 1943, 16.