Liberais e conservadores precisam uns dos outros

George H. Nash, “Populism, I: American conservatism and the problem of populism”:

In the late 1950s and early 1960s the three independent wings of the conservative revolt against the Left began to coalesce around National Review, founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1955. Apart from his extraordinary talents as a writer, debater, and public intellectual, Buckley personified each impulse in the developing coalition. He was at once a traditional Christian, a defender of the free market, and a staunch anticommunist (a source of his ecumenical appeal to conservatives).

As this consolidation began to occur, a serious challenge arose to the fragile conservative identity: a growing and permanent tension between the libertarians and the traditionalists. To the libertarians the highest good in society was individual liberty, the emancipation of the autonomous self from external (especially governmental) restraint. To the traditionalists (who tended to be more religiously oriented than most libertarians) the highest social good was not unqualified freedom but ordered freedom grounded in community and resting on the cultivation of virtue in the individual soul. Such cultivation, argued the traditionalists, did not arise spontaneously. It needed the reinforcement of mediating institutions (such as schools, churches, and synagogues) and at times of the government itself. To put it another way, libertarians tended to believe in the beneficence of an uncoerced social order, both in markets and morals. The traditionalists often agreed, more or less, about the market order (as opposed to statism), but they were far less sanguine about an unregulated moral order.

Not surprisingly, this conflict of visions generated a tremendous controversy on the American Right in the early 1960s, as conservative intellectuals attempted to sort out their first principles. The argument became known as the freedom-versus-virtue debate. It fell to a former Communist and chief ideologist at National Review, a man named Frank Meyer, to formulate a middle way that became known as fusionism—that is, a fusing or merging of the competing paradigms of the libertarians and the traditionalists. In brief, Meyer argued that the overriding purpose of government was to protect and promote individual liberty, but that the supreme purpose of the free individual should be to pursue a life of virtue, unfettered by and unaided by the State.

As a purely theoretical construct, Meyer’s fusionism did not convince all his critics, then or later. But as a formula for political action and as an insight into the actual character of American conservatism, his project was a considerable success. He taught libertarian and traditionalist purists that they needed one another and that American conservatism must not become doctrinaire. To be relevant and influential, it must stand neither for dogmatic antistatism at one extreme nor for moral authoritarianism at the other, but for a society in which people are simultaneously free to choose and desirous of choosing the path of virtue.

(…).

What do conservatives want? To put it in elementary terms, I believe they want what nearly all conservatives since 1945 have wanted: they want to be free; they want to live virtuous and meaningful lives; and they want to be secure from threats both beyond and within our borders. They want to live in a society whose government respects and encourages these aspirations while otherwise leaving people alone. Freedom, virtue, and safety: goals reflected in the libertarian, traditionalist, and national security dimensions of the conservative movement as it has developed over the past seventy years. In other words, there is at least a little fusionism in nearly all of us. It is something to build on. But it will take time.

Multiculturalismo e imigração

Roger Scruton, How to be a conservative (London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2014), 90-92:

Once we distinguish race and culture, the way is open to acknowledge that not all cultures are equally admirable, and that not all cultures can exist comfortably side by side. To deny this is to forgo the very possibility of moral judgement, and therefore to deny the fundamental experience of community. It is precisely this that has caused the multiculturalists to hesitate. It is culture, not nature, that tells a family that their daughter who has fallen in love outside the permitted circle must be killed, that girls must undergo genital mutilation if they are to be respectable, that the infidel must be destroyed when Allah commands it. You can read about those things and think they belong to the pre-history of our world. But when suddenly they are happening in your midst, you are apt to wake up to the truth about the culture that advocates them. You are apt to say, that is not our culture, and it has no business here. And you will probably be tempted to go one stage further, the stage that the Enlightenment naturally invites, and to say that it has no business anywhere.

For what is brought home to us, through painful experiences that we might have avoided had it been permitted before now to say the truth, is that we, like everyone else, depend upon a shared culture for our security, our prosperity and our freedom to be. We don’t require everyone to have the same faith, to lead the same kind of family life or to participate in the same festivals. But we have a shared civic culture, a shared language and a shared public sphere. Our societies are built upon the Judaeo-Christian ideal of neighbour-love, according to which strangers and intimates deserve equal concern. They require each of us to respect the freedom and sovereignty of every person, and to acknowledge the threshold of privacy beyond which it is a trespass to go unless invited. Our societies depend upon law-abidingness and open contracts, and they reinforce these things through the educational traditions that have shaped our common curriculum. It is not an arbitrary cultural imperialism that leads us to value Greek philosophy and literature, the Hebrew Bible, Roman law, and the medieval epics and romances and to teach these things in our schools. They are ours in just the way that the legal order and the political institutions are ours: they form part of what made us, and convey the message that it is right to be what we are. And reason endorses these things, and tells us that our civic culture is not just a parochial possession of inward-looking communities, but a justified way of life.

Over time, immigrants can come to share these things with us: the experience of America bears ample witness to this. And they more easily do so when they recognize that, in any meaningful sense of the word, our culture is also a multi-culture, incorporating elements absorbed in ancient times from all around the Mediterranean basin and in modern times from the adventures of European traders and explorers across the world. But this kaleidoscopic culture is still one thing, with a set of inviolable principles at its core; and it is the source of social cohesion across Europe and America. Our culture allows for a great range of ways of life; it enables people to privatize their religion and their family customs, while still belonging to the public realm of open dealings and shared allegiance. For it defines that public realm in legal and territorial terms, and not in terms of creed or kinship.

So what happens when people whose identity is fixed by creed or kinship immigrate into places settled by Western culture? The activists say that we must make room for them, and that we do this by relinquishing the space in which their culture can flourish. Our political class has at last recognized that this is a recipe for disaster, and that we can welcome immigrants only if we welcome them into our culture, and not beside or against it. But that means telling them to accept rules, customs and procedures that may be alien to their old way of life. Is this an injustice? I do not think that it is. If immigrants come it is because they gain by doing so. It is therefore reasonable to remind them that there is also a cost. Only now, however, is our political class prepared to say so, and to insist that cost be paid.

A tradição em John Kekes

John Kekes, A Case for Conservatism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001), 38-40 (tradução minha):

Uma tradição é um conjunto de crenças costumárias, práticas e acções que resistiu desde o passado até ao presente e atraiu a fidelidade de pessoas que desejam perpetuá-la. Uma tradição pode ser reflectiva e desenhada, como as deliberações do Supremo Tribunal, ou irreflectida e espontânea, como os fãs de desporto a apoiarem as suas equipas; pode ter um quadro institucional formal, como a Igreja Católica, ou pode não ser estruturada, como o alpinismo; pode ser competitiva, como os Jogos Olímpicos; em grande parte passiva, como ir à ópera; humanitária, como a Cruz Vermelha; egocêntrica, como o jogging; honorífica, como o Prémio Nobel; ou punitiva, como os procedimentos criminais. As tradições podem ser religiosas, horticulturais, científicas, atléticas, políticas, estilísticas, morais, estéticas, comerciais, médicas, legais, militares, educacionais, arquitecturais, e aí por diante. Elas permeiam as vidas humanas.

Quando os indivíduos formam gradual e experimentalmente a sua concepção de uma vida boa o que estão a fazer, em larga medida, é decidir em que tradições devem participar. Esta decisão pode ser tomada de dentro das tradições em que nasceram ou em que foram criados, ou de fora das tradições que os atraem, repelem, aborrecem ou interessam. As decisões podem ser conscientes, deliberadas, claramente afirmativas ou negativas, podem ser formas de seguir inconsciente e irreflectidamente padrões familiares, ou podem ser vários pontos entre estes tipos. O essencial das actividades dos indivíduos que dizem respeito a viver de formas que eles consideram boas é composto pela participação nas várias tradições da sua sociedade.

À medida que os indivíduos participam nestas actividades, claro que exercem a sua autonomia. Eles fazem escolhas e julgamentos; as suas vontades são envolvidas; eles aprendem com o passado e planeiam para o futuro. Mas fazem-no no quadro de várias tradições que com autoridade lhes providenciam as escolhas relevantes, as matérias que são deixadas aos seus julgamentos e os padrões que dentro de uma tradição determinam quais escolhas e julgamentos são bons e maus, razoáveis e ou irrazoáveis. O seu exercício da autonomia é o aspecto individual da sua conformidade à autoridade da sua tradição, que é o aspecto social do que eles estão a fazer. Eles agem autonomamente ao seguirem os padrões de autoridade das tradições a que sentem fidelidade.

(…). Entender o que se passa em termos de autonomia individual é tão unilateral quanto fazê-lo em termos de autoridade social. Cada uma desempenha um papel essencial, e entender o que se passa requer entender ambos os papéis que desempenham e o que os torna essenciais.

O tradicionalismo repousa sobre este entendimento, e é uma resposta política ao mesmo. A resposta é ter e manter arranjos políticos que promovem a participação dos indivíduos nas várias tradições que resistiram historicamente na sua sociedade. A razão para as promover é que as vidas boas dependem da participação numa variedade de tradições.

As tradições não se mantêm independentes umas das outras. Elas sobrepõem-se, formam partes umas das outras, e os problemas e questões que ocorrem numa são frequentemente resolvidos nos termos de outra. A maioria das tradições tem aspectos legais, morais, políticos, estéticos, estilísticos, administrativos, entre outros. Ademais, as pessoas que participam numa tradição trazem consigo as crenças, valores e práticas de muitas das outras tradições em que também participam. Desta forma, as mudanças numa tradição são propensas a produzir mudanças noutras. As tradições estão, assim, organicamente ligadas. É por isto que as mudanças numa tradição são como ondas que se reflectem noutras tradições de uma sociedade.

Algumas destas mudanças são para melhor, outras para pior. A maioria delas, todavia, é complexa, tem consequências que se tornam menos previsíveis quanto mais distantes estiverem, e que assim tendem a escapar ao controlo humano. Dado que estas mudanças são mudanças em tradições sobre as quais dependem as vidas boas, a atitude dos conservadores tradicionalistas em relação a elas será de extremo cuidado. Eles pretenderão controlar as mudanças na medida do possível. Eles quererão que elas não sejam mais amplas do que o necessário para remediar um defeito específico. Eles opor-se-ão a mudanças grandes, experimentais ou gerais devido aos seus efeitos incertos nas vidas boas.

As mudanças são, claro, frequentemente necessárias porque as tradições podem ser perversas, destrutivas, embrutecedoras, negativas e, assim, não conducentes a vidas boas. É parte do propósito dos arranjos políticos prevalecentes distinguir entre tradições que são inaceitáveis, tradições suspeitas mas toleráveis e tradições dignas de encorajamento – por exemplo, a escravatura, a pornografia e a educação universitária. As tradições que violam os requisitos mínimos da natureza humana são proibidas. As tradições que historicamente fizeram contribuições questionáveis para as vidas boas podem ser toleradas, mas não encorajadas. As tradições cujo registo histórico atesta a sua importância para as vidas boas são acarinhadas.

Da ciência do governo

Edmund Burke, Select Works of Edmund Burke, vol. 2 (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999), 153 (tradução minha):

Sendo a ciência do governo, portanto, tão prática em si mesma, e destinada a tais propósitos práticos, uma matéria que requer experiência, e ainda mais experiência do que uma pessoa pode adquirir em toda a sua vida, por mais sagaz e observador que possa ser, é com infinita cautela que qualquer homem deve aventurar-se a demolir um edifício que tenha respondido em qualquer grau tolerável, durante épocas, aos propósitos comuns da sociedade, ou a reconstruí-lo novamente sem ter modelos e padrões de utilidade aprovados perante os seus olhos.

Globalização, liberalismo e comunitarismo

Amitai Etzioni, “We must not be enemies”:

As I see it, the rise of right-wing populism in the United States and in Europe can be attributed to no small extent to the profound misunderstanding globalists have of community and communitarian values. Globalists tend to view society as composed of freestanding individuals, each of whom has his or her own individual rights and is keen to pursue his or her own self-interest. As a result, globalists assume that, given the proper information, their fellow citizens will see that their aging societies are refreshed by immigration, that free trade raises the standard of living for everyone, and that individual rights outweigh tribalism.

The trouble with this liberal view of society is less what it claims and more what it leaves out: namely, that people are also social creatures, whose flourishing and psychological well-being depend on strong, lasting, meaningful relationships with others and on the sharing of moral and social values. These relationships and values are found in national and local communities (including families, which are micro-communities). By definition, communities are circumscribed rather than all-inclusive and are inevitably parochial rather than global. Still, the values of communities can be reconciled with globalist values.

If the goal of progressives is to reduce right-wing populism, violence, prejudice, and xenophobia, then communities must be nurtured as they are urged toward equanimity, the rejection of unfounded fears, and above all tolerance. These goals cannot be achieved by denigrating parochialism. Rather, globalists must understand that parochialism can be reconfigured but cannot, and should not, be eliminated.

(…)

Above all, globalists ignore the effects of free trade on people’s essential communitarian needs. Economists often fail to understand people who are reluctant to move from West Virginia to Montana, say, when the coal industry is declining but the gas industry is growing. They do not sufficiently consider that people lose their communal bonds when they make such moves. People leave behind the friends they can call on when they are sick or grieving and the places where their elders are buried. Their children miss their own friends, and everyone in the family feels ripped away from the centers of their social lives: school, church, social club, union hall, or American Legion post. A reliable evaluation of the benefits of trade should take into account the destructive effects on communities of churning the labor force. We should at least feel the pain of the casualties of free trade rather than denigrate them as redneck boors who just don’t get it.

(…)

Globalists favor the free movement of people across national borders. They strongly support the Schengen Agreement, which removes border controls among many members of the European Union. They cheered Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, for welcoming millions of immigrants to Germany. And they view Trump’s call for building a wall on the Mexican border and restriction on immigration from Muslim countries as typical right-wing, xenophobic, reactionary policies.

However, the well-known social psychologist Jonathan Haidt views mass immigration as the trigger that set off the authoritarian impulses of many nations. He concludes that it is possible to have moderate levels of immigration from “morally different ethnic groups”—so long as they are seen to be “assimilating to the host culture”—but high levels of immigration from countries with different moral values, without successful assimilation, will trigger an authoritarian backlash. Haidt suggests that immigration policies ought to take into account three factors: “the percentage of foreign-born residents at any given time; the degree of moral difference [between the] incoming group [and the members of the host society]; and the degree of assimilation being achieved by each group’s children.” Globalists do not approve of this approach.

Progressives are sure to continue to favor a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. But they’d better pay more attention to the further acculturation of this large group than many globalists do. To favor unlimited immigration—whatever the numbers and the cultural differences—is possible only if human rights outweigh all concerns about the value and importance of communal bonds, shared moral understanding, and a sense of identity, history, and fate. Adding a sizable number of people who are indistinguishable from its current members will stress a given community. Adding a large number of culturally distinct people is very likely to engender social tensions. The answer is not to draw up the bridges or build walls but to adopt realistic sociological strategies for absorbing immigrants into their new, host communities.

(…)

Even a global community, if one can be forged, would have to be constructed on top of local, regional, and national communities, rather than as a single independent entity composed of more than seven billion individuals, each with individual rights but no social bonds or set of shared values. Thus, universalism and parochialism can be combined, but attempts to maximize either position are sure to lead to troubling, socially disturbing results.

(…)

Communitarian sociologists have been pointing out that, for two centuries, the rise of modernity has threatened the communal bonds and shared moral cultures that are essential for a person’s sense of identity, emotional stability, and moral codes. Studies of the rise of Nazism show that communities serve as the best antidote to the mass appeal of demagogues. The kind of reasoned, self-governing, tolerant, civil person whom globalists favor is much less likely to be found among individuals outside the bonds of community than among people with stable social bonds, imbued with a proper moral culture. Hence, globalists have strong reasons to shore up communities.

(…)

Progressives should remember that nobody can bond with seven billion people, and almost everyone feels more responsibility toward those closest to them. People have profound needs for lasting social relations, meaning, and shared moral beliefs. Globalist values can be combined with nationalist, parochial ones—demanding that communities not violate individual rights while allowing them to foster bonds and values for their members in the ways that suit them best.

Local communities need to be nurtured rather than denounced, not only because they satisfy profound human needs but also because they anchor people to each other and thus help to dilute appeals to their worst instincts. Championing fair trade, fostering diversity within a framework of unity and shared values, and accepting many kinds of communities as long as they respect rights—all are positions that show understanding and even empathy for citizens who voted for Donald Trump and will go a long way toward making America as great as it can be.

Do dogmatismo da ideologia de género

Camille Paglia, “Liberdade vs. politicamente correcto,” Ler, no. 144 (Inverno de 2016): 67:

Mantenho, de acordo com a minha desalentada observação na época, que esses novos programas suplementares raramente, ou mesmo nunca, se alicerçavam em princípios académicos autênticos: eram gestos de relações públicas destinados a abafar críticas de um passado intolerante. Na concepção de qualquer programa de estudos femininos, por exemplo, devia ser obrigatório para as alunas fazerem pelo menos uma cadeira de biologia básica, para que o papel das hormonas no desenvolvimento humano pudesse ser investigado – e rejeitado, se necessário. Mas não, tanto os estudos femininos como, mais tarde, os estudos de género evoluíram sem referência à ciência, garantindo desse modo que a sua ideologia permaneceria partidária e unidimensional, a sublinhar a construção social do género. Qualquer ponto de vista diferente é considerado uma heresia e praticamente nunca foi sequer apresentado aos estudantes como hipótese alternativa.

Ideologia como vocação

Daniel Johnson, “Ideology as a vocation”:

Scholarship requires one to follow the evidence, the logic, and above all one’s conscience. Ideology promises a release from all three, into a gravitas-free zone where all that matters is commitment to a cause. Once a scholar has made ideology rather than integrity his or her vocation, it is almost irrelevant which ideology it is.