Chew on This

From a brilliant post entitled Guvment by Patrick Deneen, prof. at Georgetown, mentor of one of my favorite bloggers, Poulous, The Postmodern Conservative.  It has shades, for those who read him, of The Crunchy Conservative Rod Dreher.

Deneen (my italics):

When we debate over guvment involvement in the market, we obscure the nature of the debate – whether this is the appropriate or sole goal of a society. I would submit that it is a deeply flawed goal – sharing the view of Aristotle that a proper economy is cognizant of limits to moneymaking in the name of fundamental human goods of which prosperity is a part, but only a part. Those goods include healthy and stable communities which are both formed by culture and in which cultures are maintained and preserved; a sound culture that inculcates central human virtues and that is ably passed on from one generation to the next; a culture that makes and keeps good families; a culture that inculcates the very virtues that will be necessary for a good, humane, and moral economy (one that avoids the abuses that we have recently seen in our financial markets); a culture that strongly emphasizes a sense of gratitude and obligation between generations; a culture that encourages stewardship, conservation and fidelity; and perhaps above all, a culture that reins in and chastens our eternal temptation toward Promethean or sinful self-aggrandizement, that teaches and enforces limits, that calls to our mind our flaws, and that does not allow us to lose sight of our fundamental condition of being dependent upon one another. A further good is our ability to act in concert with one another to achieve and maintain such a culture and polity – citizenship as shared and mutual governance, which goes far beyond our current conception as citizenship as suffrage.

Read the whole thing, as they say.  Deneen then goes on to say that this vision (very Wendell Berry inspired) he outlines is opposed by economic libertarians on the right and cultural libertarians on the left.

The result of which:

Because we are so often engaged in the discrete political battles of our day – and I wouldn’t suggest that they don’t matter, for they do – nevertheless, we easily lose sight of the deeper similarities between our two main Parties, parties that are both defenders of what John Stuart Mill indicated was actually one Party – the Party of Progress. In our current society there are few defenders of what he identified as the other Party, the Party of Tradition. Mill was a severe critic of this latter Party, inasmuch as it discouraged what he called “experiments in living” and the obstruction of our experience of ourselves as “progressive beings.”

Progressive here meaning both parties, the general Left-Right (non)distinction in political circles.  There are elements to revive from the paleocon right (anti-imperialism, communitarism, conservationism without environmentalism) but it comes mixed (at least in the Buchanan paleocon right) with anti-immigrant, anti-women in the workplace, anti-gay/lesbian elements that I don’t and can’t abide by.  A Party of Tradition in other words that is not social conservatism.

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Published in: on June 21, 2008 at 8:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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