September 26, 2005

"a socially conservative plinth"

This is a quote by Peter Burnet I had copied last year and never blogged...

...And they are right. The market is cold and uncaring, which is why radical libertarianism is bound to fail. Political freedom and free enterprise are proven essentials to a healthy and resilient society, but, unlike socialism, they are not self-contained, comprehensive philosophies that address all aspects of collective life, as Adam Smith recognized. A society that believes only in an atomistic individualism with no obligations beyond basic civility will leave behind the dull, the unlucky, the emotionally fragile, the unattractive, the socially unskilled, the unhealthy and many of those locked into family obligations. That is a lot of us. It is both morally offensive and politically dangerous.

Free societies must be built on a socially conservative plinth of interdependence of family, community and faith. They will flourish with citizens that see duty to others as the definition of the good life, not “finding the real me”, self-actualization or any of the other noxious creeds touted by educators and pop psychologists that serve only to drive practical and ethical wedges between us. The exact extent of these duties will always depend upon empirical realities and the vagaries of human nature and cannot be defined a priori. But to ignore or evade them will lead to both political instability and a sterile existence wherein life's highest purpose is summed up by that old Yuppie joke: "He who finishes with the most toys wins."

It's kinda scary all the draft posts I have that never got used.

And I feel particularly bad because I'm reminded I haven't blogged the BEST BOOK I've read this year, the Anglosphere Challenge, by James C. Bennett. (Charlene agrees; we were grabbing it out of each other's hands). One of his points is that the nations and groups that succeed are those with a strong "civic society," where groups easily arise other than just the citizen and the state.

But it will have to wait; no time right now...

Posted by John Weidner at September 26, 2005 7:32 AM
Weblog by John Weidner