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Sharp Stick

Infinite Cornucopia

The online edition of the New Criterion has an article by Roger Kimball appraising the work of the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski. It emphasizes his critique of Marxism, as practical politics, ideology and philosophy, which has made him popular with American conservatives and some of the religious conservative intelligentsia. Much of the material about Kolakowski on the Internet in English emphasizes his critiques of Communist and liberal/modern ideas in support of religious and conservative ideology, which is a very shallow approach.
Kolakowski stated a proposition known as the Law of the Infinite Cornucopia. It is summarized in a Wikipedia entry which seems to have parasitically used by dozens of other Web “encyclopedias”. I haven’t found the book, article or speech with the original comment. The Wikipedia summay quoted here appears to have been taken from historian Timothy Garton Ash’s paraphrase, in an essay or review called “Neo-Pagan Poland” published in the New York Review of Books January 11, 1996:

…. for any given doctrine one wants to believe, there is never a shortage of arguments by which one can support it.
A historian’s application of this law might be that a plausible cause can be found for any given historical development. A biblical theologian’s application of this law might be that for any doctrine one wants to believe, there is never a shortage of biblical evidence to support it.

That’s an elegant statement of the capacity of human beings to rationalize to fortify an inituitive, emotional belief.