Henry Kissinger’s Remarks Reprinted At The New Criterion-‘The Limits Of Universalism’

Worth a read.

On Burkean Conservatism:

‘The billiard table is a seductive analogy. But in real foreign policy, the billiard balls do not react only to physical impact. They are also guided by their own cultural inheritances: their histories, instincts, ideals, their characteristic national approaches to strategy, in short, their national values. A realist foreign policy needs a strong value system to guide it through the inherent ambiguities of circumstance. Even Bismarck, the supreme realist, emphasized the ultimate moral basis of realist statesmanship: “The best a statesman can do is to listen carefully to the footsteps of God, get ahold of the hem of His cloak and walk with Him a few steps of the way.’

and a partial look at ideas underlying his multipolar vision:

‘The distinction between idealism and realism rejects the experience of history. Idealists do not have a monopoly on moral values; realists must recognize that ideals are also part of reality. We will be less frequently disillusioned if we emphasize a foreign policy designed to accumulate nuance rather than triumph through apocalyptic showdowns, and our values will benefit over the longer term.’

Related On This Site:

Henry Kissinger & George Schulz Via The WSJ: ‘The Iran Deal And Its Consequences’Inside Everyone Is A Western Individual Waiting To Get Out?-Repost-Roger Sandall At The American Interest: ‘Tribal Realism’

Are there dangers of idealism/German idealism that come with a Kantian influence in the political realm?  Are they addressed here?:   From The Internet Encyclopedia Of Knowledge: Immanuel Kant And Utilitarianism.  Kantian Metaphysics and J.S. Mill’s Utilitarianism More On Daniel Deudney’s Bounding Power

A quotation from Burke:

‘A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.  Without such means it might even risque the loss of that part of the constitution which it wished the most religiously to preserve.  The two principles of conservation and correction operated strongly at the two critical periods of the Restoration and Revolution, when England found itself without a king.  At both those periods the nation had lost the bond of union in their antient edifice; they did not however, dissolve the whole fabric.’

Edmund Burke, commenting on the French Revolution, in The Evils Of Revolution, What Is Liberty Without Wisdom And Without Virtue It Is The Greatest Of All Possible Evils, New York, NY. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2008.  Pg 8.

From Via Media: ‘Climate Caution Is About The Policies, Not The Science’

Full post here.

‘Environmental policy thinkers almost always begin with statist, top-down fixes, and quickly embrace crony capitalist ideas that involve subsidies for certain types of energy production, such as the ethanol abomination. Powerful economic lobbies then run with these ideas, perverting them until their environmental benefits take a back seat to their usefulness as tools of wealth capture.’

That’s because, on many fronts, this a matter ideological, not scientific.  Many of the disillusioned Left have attached themselves, and their hopes, to climate change as a vehicle for their ideas.  These are precisely the people who need to be disaggregated from scientific inquiry, like creeping vines from a healthy plant.

Climate change can be a rallying cry for meaning in life, offering purpose, money, jobs, identity, and a kind of near religious belief.  More broadly, it’s a solid part of our culture and educational system.

There is a true-belief problem in human affairs, and no shortage of human ignorance, which ought to be kept in mind.

Here’s Robert Zubrin again:

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Even a private property-based conservation effort is something I could get behind, as it’s important to keep an open mind, and not define the problem merely as one of ideology, nor political philosophy.

Any thoughts or comments are welcome, feel free to highlight my ignorance.

Related On This SiteRonald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

From Fora.tv Via A & L Daily: Bjorn Lomberg @ COP15

Jonathan Adler At The Atlantic: ‘A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change’ Monbiot invokes Isaiah Berlin and attacks libertarians:  From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

Amy Payne At The Foundry: ‘Morning Bell: Obama Administration Buries Good News on Keystone Pipeline’Repost-From if-then knots: “Response To Yetter On AGW”

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And LibertyFrom The WSJ-A Heated Exchange: Al Gore Confronts His Critics…From The Literary Review–Weather Channel Green Ideology: Founder John Coleman Upset….The Weather Channel’s Green Blog: A Little Too GreenFrom The Washington Post: The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth Team Fired

Repost-From Reason’s Hit And Run Blog: ‘Celebrating Roy Childs, A Lost Libertarian Great’

Full post here.

Interesting quote:

Childs was the autodidact with the nerve to tell Ayn Rand that Objectivism implied anarchism and to tell Robert Nozick that his “invisible hand” argument for the moral creation of the state collapses around itself. The essays in which he does this are both contained in Anarchism and Justice.’

Worth a read as Reason revisits libertarian thinkers of note.

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And now, just to shake things up a bit:  Briton Roger Scruton answers (45 min long) a series of questions about libertarianism, individualism, the State, Hayek, free markets, conservatism, our moral obligations to one another, contractualism, Christianity as he sees them etc.:

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It’s the safeguarding of a traditional order that is the real concern of conservatives

Scruton mentions this quotation a la Edmund Burke.  Such is an order that stretches across time, full of more spontaneously and freely entered into arrangements and contracts between people, but also duties and moral obligations that people have to one another, and sometimes to the State. Such arrangements often form institutions which are much stronger than any planned institution on Scruton’s thinking (and I’d argue often stronger and more stable than institutions defined with positive definitions of justice upon a rationalist framework, as I think promising to distribute and redistribute wealth is an over-promise that overlooks human nature and limits our institutions’ real world effectiveness. Such a view wants to extend liberty to ever new groups of people by granting “rights” to them, often without the duties and moral obligation).

Our constitutional republic, too,  grants ‘rights’ to people, and they are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Clearly, people in the U.S have quite differing views on what the role of the State ought to be, in relief especially at the moment as we wade through the effects of excessive individualism through modernism, postmodernism, moral relativism, certain strains of Continental thought (Neo-Marxism in the academy) and those who define freedom, the individual, and the State in very different ways.

Some thoughts on conservatism, its limitations and challenges, its blind spots and strengths.

Don’t call Scruton a man of the right, at least by British standards, anyways.

Also, the connection between political and economic liberty is highlighted, as it should be.

Related On This Site:  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

Anarchy and hierarchy: Repost-Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom’…Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader…Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of KnowledgeTwo Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

New liberty away from Hobbes…toward Hayek…but can you see Locke from there?: Repost-From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’

Scruton points to the Romans as the beginning of the separation of Church and State, or civil law, as opposed to Islam: From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & AtheismFrom The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”/Roger Scruton In The American Spectator: The New Humanism

Scruton’s father was a socialist, and he wants to redirect the impulse to save the environment, and the daily lives of people from central planning back toward human aims and away from top down abstract surveys in Britain:Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

From romanticism to modernism to postmodernism to….?:  Here’s a suggestion to keep aesthetic and political judgements apart-Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment…The conservative/libertarian tradition in the Anglosphere meets the arts: Robert Hughes-R.I.P.Denis Dutton suggests art could head towards Darwin (and may offer new direction from the troubles of the modern art aimlessness and shallow depth) Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Update On LACMA, Michael Heizer And The ‘Levitated Mass’-Modern Art And The Public

Yes, Edmund Burke opposed the French Revolution: Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution..At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes

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Via Youtube: Christopher Hitchens On Faith And Virtue

(about 1 min long)

If Hitchens means his mission is to disassociate people’s submission of will in faith to a transcendent God and the earthly authority of the church, and faith without reason…then the argument clearly has merit.  There’s no shortage of ignorance, zeal, willful denial of reason, a violent certitude and moral absolutism with which men can occupy their minds in the throes of belief (though some very good poetry and literature has come of it).  It is one of the greatest threats to liberty.

Hitchens has brought such a standard to bear against Islam (as well as Christianity) in his role as a war correspondent, highlighting the West’s engagement with Islam with a vigorous and heated defense of free speech.  Perhaps one of the greatest evils for Hitchens is the abuse and exploitation of ignorance by those who claim divine providence; or simply those who bend to the many political, institutional and personal incentives for maintaining such a lack of reason (the Grand Inquisitor scene from the Brothers Karamazov comes to mind, rallying cry for many a secularist).

Here’s a quote from John Locke:

“7. What is meant by enthusiasm. This I take to be properly enthusiasm, which, though founded neither on reason nor divine revelation, but rising from the conceits of a warmed or overweening brain, works yet, where it once gets footing, more powerfully on the persuasions and actions of men than either of those two, or both together: men being most forwardly obedient to the impulses they receive from themselves; and the whole man is sure to act more vigorously where the whole man is carried by a natural motion. For strong conceit, like a new principle, carries all easily with it, when got above common sense, and freed from all restraint of reason and check of reflection, it is heightened into a divine authority, in concurrence with our own temper and inclination.”

Yet, there are some serious questions surrounding a positive doctrine of reason for Hitchens (it was probably shrewd of him to join the new atheists).  He’s renounced Marxism, but there is likely a continual influence of the same thinking upon him…around which social, civic and political life was organized upon Enlightenment ideals as well and a certain metaphysics of reason these past few centuries.  This thinking, of course, also motivates Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Humanists, Universalists, etc.

In its worst incarnations, there was, and is, no shortage of similar human behavior on display in its wake.  It involved the submission of will by force for the common good, overseen by those would enforce that good against the will of individuals, faith having been banished…power and the incentives for rule over others increasingly attached to the baser desires as the system slowly collapsed.

As for our current engagement with Islam, one threat would be merely copying the universalist dilemma that faces Europe regarding Muslim immigration (guided by relativist logic and under the banners of equality and tolerance which can simply not handle the problems immigration creates; the poverty, economic opportunity and its lack, stresses on the labor market, social tensions, etc).  On the other hand, less likely,but still plausible:  Pitting Christianity against Islam (and vice versa) for all the gains involved for some, the likes of which are much more prevalent in the Muslim world at the moment (think Bin Laden’s violent, thuggish mission) in a new round of religious wars.

Is Hitchens deeper than that? Is the analysis sound?

Related On This Site:  From Michael Totten: ‘An Interview With Christopher Hitchens’From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’

Can Kant do all that heavy lifting…what are some of the dangers of Enlightenment project?:  From Bryan Magee’s Talking Philosophy On Youtube: Geoffrey Warnock On KantA Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty” …

Hilary Putnam On The Philosophy Of Science:  Bryan Magee’s Talking Philosophy On YouTube…How does Natural Law Philosophy deal with these problems, and those of knowledge?…From Philosophy And Polity: ‘Historicism In German Political Theory’From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & AtheismRepost: A Debate: Would We Better Off Without Religion?

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From Legal Focus: ‘Classroom Crucifixes Ban Overturned : Lautsi v Italy (2011)’

Full post here.

‘The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rendered by 15:2 in Lautsi v Italy (App. No.: 30814/06) on the 18th March 2011 that it is justifiable for public funded schools in Italy to continue displaying crucifixes on the classroom walls.’

Related On This Site:  Repost: From The Strasbourg Observers: ‘Remembering Lautsi (And The Cross)’…Sometimes a cross isn’t just a cross, as Stanley Fish notesFrom Law At The End Of The Day: ‘Torn Between Religion And Law In Spain’

Low European Birth Rates In The NY Times: No Babies?

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