Here’s a quote from Popper:
“…and if there could be such a thing as socialism combined with individual liberty, I would be a socialist still. For nothing could be better than living a modest, simple, and free life in an egalitarian society. It took some time before I recognized this as no more than a beautiful dream; that freedom is more important that equality; that the attempt to realize equality endangers freedom; and that, if freedom is lost, there will not even be equality among the unfree.”
and here’s a previous quote from a thinker on Gerald Gaus’ new book:
‘Jerry has argued throughout the book that the conception of the person employed within public reason liberalism and liberalism broadly speaking must move in this Hayekian direction. If public reason liberals follow Jerry’s lead, the fundamental structure of public reason and even the nature of the social contract theorists’ project must substantially change. In short, political justification must not begin with deriving the rationality of rule-following from a teleological conception of practical reason. Instead, it must begin with an understanding of the nature of human beings who are already rule-followers and the nature of the moral emotions and cooperative activities that accompany such rule-following. It is in this way that Jerry moves most forcefully away from Hobbesian conceptions of public reason. He goes further by arguing that even the Kantian conception of the person he endorses cannot be constructed out of practical reason alone. Instead, human nature contains Kantian elements for thoroughly Humean-Hayekian-evolution reasons. Our rule-following nature is contingent on our social development (though no less contingent than our goal-seeking nature).’
In watching the Occupy protests, it’s clear that there are real anarchists, socialists, communists, Marxist materialists etc. out there, waiting for the opportunity to implement ideas that have failed so miserably in practice. These folks are hopelessly unable to reconcile individual freedom with those ideas but will likely never stop trying. It seems like the Tea Party/OWS equivalence argument is something of a litmus test for some liberals and those who hear the call of egalitarianism. Many are willing to tolerate these elements and other unpleasantness at the protests because they likely share in a common definition of liberty. That definition and its moral obligations can lead one to become a distributionist/redistributionist and usually puts equality of outcome and “fairness” above many other goals that people often work toward, even in redistributionist and liberal societies/administrations. My greatest fear is the threat it can pose to legitimate rule and authority.
But is Occupy something more? Are mainstream liberals right to try and co-opt it for their immediate purposes?
Perhaps there are liberals and democrats more comfortable with property rights, less regulated markets, more economic opportunity who are a little dismayed at where the party, and Nation, is at the moment.
Addition: Peter Schiff is out at OWS agreeing that it’s a populist movement and with the Occupy sentiment, and that more capitalism is the answer, not crony capitalism, re-distributionsim, high taxes, the blue social model that have grown so much in the last half-century.
Another Addition: From Martha Nussbaum to Gerry Gaus, liberalism is aiming away from deriving the laws of man from religious doctrine, and from the moral doctrines of Natural Law and Natural Right.
Related On This Site: Also, one of the primary goals is derive morality not from a transcendent God, nor the church, but in the new cogs-ciences and in the emotions. I am concerned about how this translates into political and social organization and away from Hobbes a la Strauss: Does evo psy have aspirations in creating a sort of secular morality…or non-religious moral and philosophical structure?: Steven Pinker From The New Republic: The Stupidity Of Dignity…A theory of moral sentiments Another Note On Jesse Prinz’s“Constructive Sentimentalism”