No One Blushes Anymore

George Will, Washington Post, September 15, 1985.


Walter Berns,┬áthe political philosopher, asks: What if, contrary to Freud and much conventional wisdom, shame is natural to man and shamelessness is acquired? If so, the acquisition of shamelessness through the shedding of “hangups” is an important political event. There is a connection between self-restraint and shame. An individual incapable of shame and embarrassment is probably incapable of the governance of the self. A public incapable of shame and embarrassment about public vulgarity is unsuited to self-government.