Saturday, November 17, 2018

Civic virtue

From Jonah Goldberg's "Fusionism Today," prerequisites to freedom:
.... There is another problem. Freedom itself—at least the specific kind of classically liberal freedom that informed nearly all sides of the fusionism debate—depends on specific notions of virtue. Both capitalism and democracy are rational systems, but they depend on a host of pre-rational commitments and institutions. Some of these commitments are familiar to anyone who has read Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism or Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments: Thrift, diligence, honesty, respect for the rule of law, and the desire to be seen as a decent person are just a few of the things that make capitalism work. Patriotism, respect, pluralism, tolerance, etc. are indispensable to keeping democracy—or, if you prefer, liberalism—from degenerating into autarky or authoritarianism. Virtue is more than just these things, but these things are all part of virtue. Many nations have embraced formal constitutional democracy or the free market only to see it fail to take root with the people themselves. ....
Jonah Goldberg, "Fusionism Today," National Review, December 3, 2018, pp. 31-34.