By Charles W. Anderson
"An eloquent security of liberal democracy, now not rather a lot as summary philosophy yet as a manner of life." ."—Jean Bethke Elshtain, collage of Chicago, writer of Democracy on Trial at the present time those that think in liberal democracy needs to reexamine and reaffirm their commitments. the following, Charles Anderson probes our pressing matters and questions. Even those that think that liberal democracy is the easiest type of govt might imagine that liberal individualism results in selfishness, permissiveness, and irresponsibility. Many may educate a cultural or spiritual counter-ethic to offset the excesses of freedom. Grounding his view in vintage philosophic and non secular beliefs, Anderson argues deeper imaginative and prescient of individuality and freedom can result in either a legitimate public philosophy and a useful own ethic. within the related approach that we as people try and comprehend our position in nature and the cosmos, Anderson seeks to appreciate how we, as exact participants, can comprehend our position between our fellow people. starting with friendship and love, he extends his inquiry to the relationships of training, neighborhood, paintings, and democracy. Anderson indicates how the usual wish of unfastened humans to discover which means in relationships with each other may end up in intensity and fullness either in deepest and public lifestyles.
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Extra info for A Deeper Freedom: Liberal Democracy as an Everyday Morality
Others (utopians, Marxists) have taught that we might come to live truly if we can understand and remove the impediments, social and mental, that prevent us from doing so. Some (Nietzscheans, existentialists) have thought that the point is to admit the meaninglessness and dismiss the intimations that we keep having that something is greater. Still others (Scholastics, progressive liberals like John Stuart Mill, pragmatists like John Dewey) have been interested in contriving a politics that would enable us to wrest as much meaning as we could from our experience.
But the philosophic life can also be a life lived in the midst of the world, in trafWc. In fact, would not a life Wlled with experience, achievement, and sorrow and pain, a life thrown in actively with all sorts of people, doing all sorts of things, be more apt to generate philosophy, deep insight, than a life of solemn contemplation? I know that many of our greatest religious teachers have urged withdrawal from the world. I simply take a different view. In any event, such a view makes a belief in the compatibility of philosophy and democracy tenable.
Which is to say that all human aims can be reduced to self-interest: We seek pleasure and try to avoid pain. This raw Benthamite utilitarianism is widespread today. This is about all we teach anymore about economics, and it is much of what we teach about philosophy and politics. We tell the young that the best way to explain human actions, individual and social, is to analyze interests. We teach them that achieving the good life is a calculation of personal satisfactions. We tell them to approach ethical and political dilemmas through a calculation of costs and beneWts to the affected parties.