Deneen again arrives at the essence of things

Here:

"At the same time, progressive liberalism shares certain fundamental commitments with classical liberalism. The first of these is a deep distrust of custom, tradition, and unchosen authority."

Yep: and here we see a point I have been trying to make previously: if classical liberalism makes sense, then the liberal anarchists are the logically consistent classical liberals.

But, of course, classical liberalism does not make sense, and so the liberal anarchists are just those who consistently follow the implications of a nonsensical idea!

15 comments:

  1. Gene,

    I'm curious: in what way does classical liberalism not make any sense? I thought that you said that liberalism is the only "viable" choice right now the table as far as political entities go.

    (I'm not arguing, BTW. I'm just curious.)

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    1. There was never, for instance, a social contract.

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  2. It is based on a metaphysically false understanding of the individual.

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  3. Playing devil's advocate: so what? Let's say I remain committed to liberalism's politics, but not its metaphysics. What then?

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    1. Well, one might think that a project with cracks in its foundations must sooner or later crumble (although that might be a while off).

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    2. I don't think Samson was talking about the prospects of liberal politics, but rather about the correctness of liberal politics. What is the argument against pursuing liberal policies politically, even if liberal metaphysics may be incorrect?

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    3. Keshav, Ptolemaic astronomy was wrong... but made many accurate predictions.

      Liberalism is a flawed theory... but may recommend many good policies.

      I don't see why this is tough.

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    4. I'm not talking about any single liberal policy. I'm asking, even if liberalism is wrong as a theory of metaphysics, why is it wrong as a political philosophy?

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    5. Keshav, any theory based upon a false premise is a false theory, even if it happens to reach many true conclusions. See Ptolemy.

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    6. Keshav, "During his lifelong search for the roots of social order, Voegelin came to understand politics not as an autonomous sphere of activity independent of a nation’s culture, but as the public articulation of how a society conceives the proper relationship of its members both to one another and to the rest of the cosmos." From this.

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    7. "...Voegelin came to understand politics not as an autonomous sphere of activity independent of a nation’s culture, but as the public articulation of how a society conceives the proper relationship of its members both to one another..."

      This would seem obvious.

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  4. I don't buy Deneen's view that Rousseau was somehow separate from Hobbes and Locke. He was an enlightenment philosopher, supported the idea of popular sovereignty, and held to a type of social contract theory. He fits in with Hobbes, Locke, and Grotius. I also can't see how this idea of "individualism versus collectivism" or what not is at all relevant to the debate. This whole opposition of the individual to government seems to have nothing to do with it either.

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    1. Samson, je ne comprends pas!

      Are you saying *there is no difference in view* between Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau?! That would be absurd, and would tend to indicate you have never read them.

      But if that is not what you are saying, then what? What does "fits in" mean? They were all writers, so they all "fit in" that category! You have to look at Deneen's specific differentiation and refute that, if you wish to intelligently critique him.

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  5. Dr Callahan, I used to read you in your Lew Rockwell days. I eventually concluded that libertarianism was liberalism reductio ad absurdum.

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