Seeing clearly within himself and always able to dodge around the ends of any position, including his own, Shaw assumed from the start the dual role of prophet and gadfly. To his contemporaries it appeared frivolous and contradictory to perform as both superman and socialist, sceptic and believer, legalist and heretic, high-brow and mob-orator. But feeling the duty to teach as well as to mirror mankind, Shaw did not accept himself as a contradictory being.
The idea of politics as a conservation in which the collision of opinions is moderated and accommodated, in which what is sought is not truth but peace, has been almost entirely lost, and supplanted by a legalist paradigm in which all political claims and conflicts are modelled in the jargon of rights.john n. gray
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