Insidious

From Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness:

[The politician] wanted his hearers to be frightened and angry. His themes were not pride and love at all, although he used the words perpetually; as he used them they meant self-praise and hate. He talked a great deal about Truth also, for he was, he said, “cutting down beneath the veneer of civilization.

It is a durable, specious metaphor, that one about veneer. . .hiding the nobler reality beneath. It can conceal a dozen fallacies all at once. One of the most dangerous is the implication that civilization, being artificial, is unnatural: that it is the opposite of primitiveness. . . . Of course there is no veneer, the process is one of growth, and primitiveness and civilization are degrees of the same thing. If civilization has an opposite, it is war.

(Originally posted October 7, 2016)

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