Monday, July 09, 2007

With reference to Scott Lemieux and
John Holbo at Crooked Timber. From my comments at CT:
Strengthen community and you will strengthen individuals’ sense of social obligation, creating a counterforce to the urge to maximize. Obviously, quite obviously, contract and market theory are irrelevant at this level. What is relevant is the context in which they are applied. Arguments that begin from rules of contract begin with individualism and individuals in opposition to one another; but Individualism can not argue against itself. And again of course individualism is the basic element for most of the posts on this site.

The European model is first a social model, not legal and not economic. Those who try to bring scientific clarity to social thought, who are fans of a naturalist epistemology are unwilling or unable to see their logics as anything but foundational. But naturalism is the intellectualism of nerds. And how are nerds not a product of their time?
If you assume freedom, you’ll lose what little of it you have. Individualists are all alike. How many more trusims and taglines can I offer?
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One more comment:
Strengthening community is not strengthening the nanny state.
The nanny state and liberalism generally conflates pity with concern. Pity reproduces power relations, concern lessens them.
To give another example closer to home: the research and professional model of academia imported from the sciences into the humanities (naturalism again) reinforces relations of authority while the fast fading pedagogical model opposes them (big-shots with an elite corps of acolytes don’t cut it).
Here's here's a good place to insert a quote from Lemieux in the older post on abortion and choice, responding to this paragraph by yours truly:
The issue is not one of internal consistency. Or rather the argument with the majority of abortion opponents will not be won by trying to convince them that their arguments are illogical (or that they are illogical under the circumstances they choose to accept). Their arguments are attempts to impose a sense of "moral seriousness" by means of law.
How do you respond to that desire? That is the only question that is not academic: that does not revolve around the two of you and others like you talking amongst yourselves.
Lemieux:
Well, first of all, the terminology gives the arguments he's demanding I respond to a rational content they don't have. Criminalizing specific acts (with the attendant ruination of lives than ensues) out of an inchoate sense that people are making choices you would prefer them not to be making is neither moral nor serious. But as to the question of how to appeal to people who have made a priori commitment to bad laws based on irrational gibberish, I'm sure I have no idea. Once I again I will repeat that I am not a political operative; when making political arguments in these forums am I trying to expose positions that are factually, logically, or normatively deficient. How to appeal to people who simply don't care about defending their positions in terms that are intelligible to others is not my department.
There you have it: Scott Lemieux will not debate those who are not "serious." Scott Lemieux is not a political thinker.

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