Marginalia, no.187

Nothing’s more insipid than a quick, cheap bit of permission.

~ Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten

Small truths can unite distant constituencies. In this case, bluenoses who fret about the moral decline of society and art critics who pine for virgin taboos can both take heart. Permissiveness ends by permitting itself out of existence. New regimes of restriction, sensible or absurd, are inevitable, and the law of habit suggests that our new rules will read suspiciously like the old ones. Actual transgression may be unnecessary, but an Eden without forbidden fruit is a garden no one really cares to tend.

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