To Have or to Be? by Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal Spring 2014

I hesitate to quote Karl Marx, but he was surely right when, in “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon,” he wrote: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”

This truth, however, which is so obvious that it ought to be, if it is not, a cliché, does not mean that choice does not exist. The inevitable existence of circumstances does not mean absence or abrogation of choice. To know the circumstances of a man is not also to know his future actions.

via To Have or to Be? by Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal Spring 2014.

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