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Monday, November 12, 2007

A Good Opportunity.

I still have to work on the tensions in between my political views so the 2008 campaign looks like a good opportunity to do so.

A basic summary, for starters. In Isaiah Berlin's famous distinction between two notions of liberty, I don't accept his strong rejection, in the name of rejecting fascism, any positive assessment of that notion of liberty which he calls positive liberty.

I guess you could call my view imperfect perfectionism, which I would think is the classical political view of Plato and Aristotle. I definitely believe that their are certain liberty or negative rights that are implied by clear and perfect duties (e.g. that it is wrong to still implies a right to property). And certainly there are other rights which are justified rationally be the consequences of securing them, such as academic freedom.

But it is clear to me that the imperative force of moral norms is simply the natural imperative force of reason to rule over the non-rational, which we first encounter in our own individual selves but which we can also apply to communities by a sufficiently clear analogy such that as proper moral functioning in the individual where reason dictates and character implements, so proper functioning in society has elites who are intrinsically qualified to lead give a shepherding guidance to those citizens who are better suited to ends other than government.

If people were as good as they could conceivably be, and were absolutely diversely gifted, this system would be perfect and not fascistic. But given that all people have the same powers to some degree, and given the fragile character of goodness and the profound character of corruption, consequential reasoning requires us to allow the extension of political rights up and down the functional order of society as a check and balance by extending the rights to freedom of speech, of religion, of markets, of gun ownership, etc. to all citizens at least prima face.

I tend to favor then Locke's attempted synthesis between a natural law outlook for communities and families, with a democratic constitution of a procedural state.

But its a tenuous buisness and I don't know that it survives scrutiny.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Thanks for writing this.