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This article is taken from PN Review 206, Volume 38 Number 6, July - August 2012.

Catchwords 16 Iain Bamforth
The Metarule

Bernard Williams remarks, in a review of a book of essays by Jon Elster, that Groucho Marx, through his famous dictum, 'I would not dream of belonging to a club which would have me as a member', reverses the terms of the no less famous master-slave paradox; and that he was properly the Marx who stood Hegel on his head.

Before and After

In her Nobel prize address, the Polish poet Wisława Szymborska, who died this year, said she would have liked to be able to tell the Preacher (author of the Book of Ecclesiastes) that while he might famously have written that there was nothing new under the sun, he himself was born new under that same sun.

The New Politics

It is a curious but nonetheless solid anthropological observation that it is very difficult to accuse a person of a misdeed, even when there is incontrovertible evidence to back up the claim, should that person fail to exhibit guilt. Lack of guilt on the part of the accused has a paralysing effect on the accuser.

This must be a relatively new phenomenon, if we bear in mind Kafka's characters who feel so tainted by guilt as to go out of their way to invite the accusation. Now it would seem to be the case that simply by being accused, irrespective of the justice (or not) of the claim, the accused feels victimised. And ...

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