Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Conundrom Which Is America

Time for a little excerpt from Patrick Deneen, here discussing "Liberalism" (in the classical sense) as it has played out in the US.

...in the realm of personal morality, we are to regard each other as radically individuated selves whose actions should be of no concern or moment to anyone else, as long as no one is being obviously harmed. While seeking to infuse the economic realm with the mantle of morality, in the “personal” realm, the language of personal choice comes to predominate.  Progressives argue that the sum of individual choices in the economic realm has enormous implications for the social whole, requiring a commitment to redressing the social dislocations that the sum of those individual choices involve.  However, the same logic is not to apply when considering “personal choice.”  While the accumulation of various personal decisions—for instance, divorce or pornography—in fact arguably has rather profound social implications, we are largely required to ignore these in the name of the liberty of lifestyle “experimentation.” We are to adopt an attitude of “non-judgmentalism,” and even indifference.  These two core commitments of modern Progressive liberalism induces schizophrenia that so deeply informs contemporary American politics.

As we will see, the opposite tension (and even schizophrenia) applies to “Natural Rights Conservatives,” who defend an extensively unregulated market and support various forms of morals legislation. What we should notice is that the two political worldviews have been successful mainly in the areas where they are more “libertarian”: progressives in expanding the sphere of personal liberty, conservatives in defending an extensively free market order (both, of course, would likely conclude otherwise). What is noteworthy is that neither has been nearly as successful in the less “libertarian” part of their agenda, which suggests that the “contradiction” at the heart of their respective commitments has a tendency to resolve itself in the favor of social “solvents” rather than “morality.” This outcome may be deeply reflective of the overall tendency of American politics, born of the liberal tradition....

Yes, that is a problem.  Look no further than the widespread support given Kim Davis AND the increasing resentment of the Chamber of Commerce's pocket-toys, the (R) Establishment.

No comments: