Friday, October 12, 2012

A Rejoinder to Straussians and Traditionalist Catholics

Both groups have accepted the Yankee nationalist myth, with the traditionalists criticizing the American founding accordingly.

Traditionalists see the United States as a "product of the Enlightenment" under the belief that rights can only be understood within the framework of liberalism, not as curbs on human legislative authority for a different reason. In this case, the Bill of Rights is a curb on the authority of the Federal Government. They do not acknowledge that the United States are more than the federal system.

Virtue, Wisdom, Experience, Not Abstract Rights, Form the Basis of the American Republic by Gregory S. Ahern

Catholics criticize the current political economy as a liberal one, probably rightly so, but it is not wholly liberal in its origin. (I will posit for now that it was inspired both by liberalism and some form of republicanism, even if that republicanism may have been deficient.) What do they offer as a solution, whether they be traditionalists or those associated with the left? CST! If everyone would just follow CST things would be better. But they've missed a big step - there can be no reorganization of community because what association that exists in most Uhmerican places are not communities. Communities must be formed from scratch, and this requires time and circumspection on the part of those involved, as they test one another. One should make laws to prevent injustice from happening, but CST is probably not a solution, not until other things are in place. The powers that be, the oligarchy, will ensure that the status quo is maintained. We can only do what we can to work outside of their system.

On voting:
Andew Haines, A Vote Worth Casting: What Makes Voting Valuable? (via CFPML)

He continues his examination of voting in line of MacIntyre's somewhat famous admonition to abstain.
The Moral Duty to (Not) Vote. Voting is an exercise of distributive justice that is dependent upon knowing the character of the candidates and their qualifications to hold office. The exercise of good practical reason should take into account whether one wells a candidate well enough to judge them to be suitable or not. Being a voter should be as serious as being a member of the Mafia: for whom can you vouch? While the personal consequences of making a bad endorsement may not be as great, a bad officer-holder can contribute to the ruin of a political community. I think Haines is on the right track, but he does not bring up the question of the proper scale or size of a community as Aristotle does (and Aristotelians worth the name do).

Haines questions, against Pahman, whether there can be a duty to consider the consequences?
"Not, of course, because considering probabilities is somehow unrelated to performing valuable actions—I argue that informed judgments are the only sort worth anything to begin with. Rather, it’s because introducing “duty” language into a thoroughly intellectual activity just doesn’t make sense."

Here I think Haines is probably wrong - if there are precepts concerning the virtue of prudence, then there are duties pertaining to prudence, and the citizen is obligated to act (and reason) prudently with respect to the affairs of the community.