[Read Pdf] Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative/Libertarian Debate Author George W. Carey – Selindameditasyon.com

Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative/Libertarian Debate First published in 1998, then reprinted in 2004, this book is almostof a historical document than something with resonance today In an era of Trumpism and beyond the academic discussions of libertarianism, conservatism, and its attempted fusion by Frank S Meyer and his disciples seem almost quaint Yet, these essays are worth a read for those who wish to better understand how the Right lost its way in some ways, it never really knew what it was doing or where it was going, except ag First published in 1998, then reprinted in 2004, this book is almostof a historical document than something with resonance today In an era of Trumpism and beyond the academic discussions of libertarianism, conservatism, and its attempted fusion by Frank S Meyer and his disciples seem almost quaint Yet, these essays are worth a read for those who wish to better understand how the Right lost its way in some ways, it never really knew what it was doing or where it was going, except against Russia and the Commies, it seems and why America s political system was always doomed to fail, in the end, since it lacked a documented connection to an enduring moral order Blandly referring to a Judeo Christian tradition whatever that is isn t enough, and time has proven that to be the case The conservative believes ours is a God centered, and therefore an ordered, universe that man s purpose is to shape his life to the patterns of order proceeding from the Divine center of life and that, in seeking this objective, man is hampered by a fallible intellect and vagrant will p 6 the limitation of government power becomes the highest political objective of conservatism p 7 A movement that can accommodate libertarianism s axiom is dominated by it if freedom is the first principle in politics, virtue is, at best, the second one and the programmatic aspects of the movement that affirms that hierarchy will be determined accordingly p 21 the idea that the quest for the common good begins with the individual man and will ascend to increasingly collectivized levels only under necessity, and always with a prudential concern for the dangers of going higher p 37 It took the study of John Calhoun to wake me up to a realization that a constitution is and should be primarily a negative document to be revered for what it prohibits than for what it authorizes A constitution is a series of thou shalt nots to the government p 73 The conservative, on the other hand, is tolerant because he has something to tolerate from, because he has in a sense squared himself with the structure of reality p 76 individual liberty, limited government, representative institutions and the scientific attainments of the West are products of Biblical theism generally, and of the Christian Middle Ages in particular p 91 In the Biblical perspective, as Jaki puts it, the universe is a totality of interacting things, harmonious in character and intelligible to human reason, which is part of the same creation formed by the same creator p 100 It may be said that the characteristic feature of liberalism, broadly defined classical as well as modern has been an attempt to take these by products, sever them from their theological origins, and make them independent and self validating On the whole, it has not been a totally successful experiment p 101 the institution and protection of private property requires some kind of legal authority, government, or similar institution in society p 110 quoting Dostoevsky To begin with unlimited freedom is to end with unlimited despotism p 177 First, the great line of division in modern politics, as Eric Voegelin reminds us, is not between totalitarians on the one hand and liberals or libertarians on the other instead, it lies between all those who believe in a transcendent moral order, on the one side, and on the other side all those who mistake our ephemeral existence as individuals for the be all and end all Second, in any tolerable society, order is the first need Liberty and justice may be established only after order is reasonably secure p 182 Thus the perfection of society is impossible, all human beings being imperfect p 183 One would hope that libertarian philosophers would accept the fact that their notions have merit only in relation to the religious basis of Western civilization, and that the liberty they seek is valuable so long as the ends toward which it is directed are derived from transcendent truths and values which are God s and not man s p 210 In short, aspeople viewed sexual s as a matter of taste rather than a question of right or wrong, the moral underpinnings of the law collapsed, followed by the laws Only a renewed consensus could allow the re establishment of the laws p 215 All told, an unfree society is not likely to be a virtuous one p 217 We would be better off if public officials adopted as their maxim, First, do no harm p 217 I have to confess philosophical arguments make my head spin This collection of essays is probably great for someone already steeped in the various voices of the conservative libertarian debate But frankly, it was a bit over my head There were some moments of clarity and light, and I did find this useful to help me see there is muchto this debate than can be captured in sound bites and memes Russell Kirk s essay, A Dispassionate Assessment of Libertarians, was especially lucid I als I have to confess philosophical arguments make my head spin This collection of essays is probably great for someone already steeped in the various voices of the conservative libertarian debate But frankly, it was a bit over my head There were some moments of clarity and light, and I did find this useful to help me see there is muchto this debate than can be captured in sound bites and memes Russell Kirk s essay, A Dispassionate Assessment of Libertarians, was especially lucid I also enjoyed the back and forth between Paul Kurtz and Edward B McLean Thoughtful, helpful essays exploring the similarities and differences between conservatism and libertarianism This book was awesome. A collection of essays meant to flesh out the debate about the philosophical differences between traditional conservatives and libertarians, which the collection roughly breaks down as traditional conservatives believe in a society that pushes respect for order and virtue while libertarians believe in a society that values individual liberty As a libertarian I will note right off the bat that the collection skews heavily in favor of essays attempting to push the traditional conservative virtue A collection of essays meant to flesh out the debate about the philosophical differences between traditional conservatives and libertarians, which the collection roughly breaks down as traditional conservatives believe in a society that pushes respect for order and virtue while libertarians believe in a society that values individual liberty As a libertarian I will note right off the bat that the collection skews heavily in favor of essays attempting to push the traditional conservative virtue philosophy That s okay though because I think that the pro conservative essays are on the whole generally weaker they all essentially end up arguing that government is bad at things like regulating the economy or making people equal but is perfectly up tot he task of making men moral Likewise, when attacking libertarianism they all tend to focus on strawman arguments like equating anarchists with the entire libertarian intellectual movement or arguing that all libertarians believe in an atomistic individualism that forecloses any sort of cooperative engagement The essays by the conservatives do have the bonus of clearly expressing what they believe and highlighting the ways in which conservatives and progressives share a common statist underpinning, even if their ultimate goals differ The essays by actual libertarians are fewer in number but from my perspectiveenlightening especially Tibor Machan s excellent Libertarianism The Principle of Liberty in that they clarify, just to name a few things, that libertarianism is essentially a political and not a moral philosophy that libertarians believe in a freedom that allows virtue through free choice to flourish that libertarians believe that a society that promotes individual liberty will require and foster cooperation and voluntary association and that society can and will operate as a check to moral excess but that check shouldn t be back by the coercive power of the state On the whole I found it a useful collection that demonstrates exactly the impulse that separates conservatives from libertarians even if they sometimes find common ground Very good exercise in comparative politics. An interesting collection of essays on the differences between conservatism and libertarianism Some individual essays are very good Others I had trouble taking seriously, but did have a value as giving insight into the other side of the debate. How conservatives look at the virtue required to give us our liberties, as opposed to how libertarians seem to think free people will be virtuous. The long running debates between between conservatives and libertarians are vigorous and highly charged, dealing with ideas about the very nature of liberty and morality Like no other single work, Freedom and Virtue explores what unites and divides the adherents of these two important American traditions shedding much light on our current political landscape


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