William Galston At The Democratic Strategist Responds to Harvey Mansfield At The Weekly Standard

Mansfield’s Weekly Standard piece here.

“One might call this sort of governing rational administration or rational control. It is government directed by reason that does not appeal to reason but rather to subrational motives that will lead people to do what is rational without their quite understanding what they are doing.”

So, Obama’s not defending liberty enough (through an appeal to individual reason) in the name of progress, and (perhaps inadvertently) treading a dangerous line…eventually building a structure that will quash individual liberty in the name of that progress?

Full response here.

“But to say, as Mansfield does, that the president’s belief in the ability of government to improve our health care system reflects a preference for progress over liberty only obscures what is really at stake. The president’s stance threatens neither political liberty nor individual liberty. His argument does not remove—and was not intended to remove—the issue of health policy beyond the bounds of political argument. It seeks, rather, to ground his proposals in considerations that most citizens would regard as weighty if not dispositive.”

So Obama’s just being pragmatic?   …but what about the Left beneath him?   I’d agree that there is hubris in Mansfield’s thinking, but there are also some things to worry about in the thinking of progressives and liberals supporting Obama. I’d still like to see more of a Millian defense of individual liberty.  They seem aimless, but maybe that’s just me.

Also On This Site:  From The Weekly Standard: Harvey Mansfield Reviews Paul Rahe’s “Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift” Are You Man Enough? Nussbaum v. Mansfield

A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

Kant is a major influence on libertarians, from Ayn Rand to Robert Nozick:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper: The Objectivist Attack On Kant

Jesse Larner In Dissent Magazine: Who’s Afraid Of Friedrich Hayek? The Obvious Truths And Mystical Fallacies Of A Hero Of The Right

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