Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Conservatism vs Liberalism, A Way Forward.

"[T]he dominant political tradition of modernity did not simply discover a pattern laid up in heaven to contemplate. Rather, Enlightenment liberalism was a project that set out to transform the world. Moreover, this multigenerational project was aimed against a particular enemy—namely, the Church and, with it, the social world that Christianity had brought into being in Europe. Thus, the famous “state of nature” that grounds liberal argument is a cunning substitute for the biblical account of Eden. The bourgeois virtues of the commercial republic, in turn, are meant to supersede the classical and Christian virtues, which in some cases now assume the character of vices. The sovereignty of the people as the sole legitimating principle of the liberal regime places in question the sovereignty of God. "

Comment: the heart of the problem is authority, and it is a solvable problem. We can simply ask "Who is the positive author of human affairs?" to find the truth. It's not enough to ask who is the passive or negative source of authority - passive or inactive laws have no power to excite human passion and instinctive allegiance. No; we must decide on what are the active, activating, and enacting sources of personal, social and political authority, if we are to resolve the distinction between conservative and liberal.

"[T]he Enlightened builders of the liberal regime were quite certain that they had discovered principles of political right that were universally applicable—and that in time might be applied beyond politics to the sphere of morals. Burke, in contrast, was guided by a kind of certainty in (traditional) morals, by an immediate intuition of the human good, while he viewed with the deepest skepticism speculative theories of political right. Whereas the Enlightenment “builds down” from politics to morals, the conservative “builds up” from morals to politics. Perhaps it would be fair to say that the liberal tradition, even today, has not yet generated a credible account of moral life. Perhaps it would be similarly fair to say that the conservative tradition has not yet generated a credible account of political life. "

What would such a (hitherto unthought-of) conservative account of politics look like? I have reason to believe it would look a lot like the work of Mortimer J. Adler in his books on politics and ethics. 

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