Having found my own unifying way of looking at issues as diverse as competition and the two-party system, divorce and the American character, black power and the failure of “unhappy” top officials to resign over Vietnam, I decided to let myself go a little.
As Jeremy Adelman shows in his astonishing and moving biography, Hirschman sought, in his early twenties and long before becoming a writer, to “prove Hamlet wrong.” In Shakespeare’s account, Hamlet is immobilized and defeated by doubt. At a conference designed to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of his first book, who else would take the opportunity to show that https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/5EHoKZzZaeElztUxwIyoh0l4esDbSjzKDtOQyZLNt0WGTbfnAu6SAyEPfLb7La5LAbgV1ZDgK91IykMNBUjUiH0mKfK1_poJ=w1600-rj” alt=”sitio web de citas bautista”> one of his own central arguments was wrong? Who else would publish an essay in The American Economic Review exploring the “overproduction of opinionated opinion,” questioning the value of having strong opinions, and emphasizing the importance of doubting one’s opinions and even one’s tastes? Hirschman thought that strong opinions, as such, “might be dangerous to the health of our democracy,” because they are an obstacle to mutual understanding and constructive problem-solving. Writing in 1989, he was not speaking of the current political culture, but he might as well have been.
One of his last books, published when he was about eighty, is called A Propensity to Self-Subversion. Continue Reading