Saturday, November 10, 2007

Don't Like the NeoCons? Here's Another Reason, Maybe

A bit paleo-libertarian for my tastes, but worth considering.

While discussing Atty-Gen'l Mukasey's nomination process, "Maximos" notes Mukasey's citation of Berns.

...the burden of the latter's [Walter Berns] scholarly efforts, as evidenced by his book,Making Patriots, is to demonstrate that the civic virtues are not natural, but inculcated positively by the integrative actions of political authority (government, in a sense, constitutes the nation; and the liberal anthropology of acquisitive instincts and affects is presupposed as a true description of human nature), and have as their object the temporal extension of a reign of propositionalist abstractions.

It is on behalf of these - liberty, equality, and probably the free movement of capital ("All to capital we surrender") instead of fraternity - that citizens are expected to sacrifice. In other words, Berns is a neoconservative extraordinaire, believing that the very nature of politics entails the conditioning of the populace to manifest fealty toward etiolated ideals, and a subsequent disciplining of that populace to accept and embrace sacrifice for the extension of those ideals and the institutions that embody them. Such sacrifices will be offered on behalf of both domestic and foreign endeavours, since propositionalism effaces the distinction between the two spheres; the neoconservative wars on behalf of democratic capitalism are the implementation of this ideology.

Of course, that would position Abraham Lincoln as a "NeoCon," which has implications for those who thought that the Podhoretz cohort was the most ancient of the group.

A similar argument has been made, by the way, about the nature of "public schools," --and is supportable when reviewing the writings of Dewey (et al) on that topic. That argument is that the "public schools" are instituted to homogenize and inculcate the little folks who may have immigrated recently, or may (even worse) be subject to such influences as the Pope.

At the same time, a counter-case can be made for simple patriotism in the case of both domestic and foreign endeavors (if one stipulates that the 'domestic' part of patriotism includes fraternitas but not necessarily 'capital.') Certainly, if the nation is subject to attack, 'patriotism' plays a far larger role than "conditioning the populace to manifest fealty..."

HT: What's Wrong With the World

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