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Saturday, January 28, 2023

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Until the hierarchy of the RCC loudly and publicly excommunicates Biden and Pelosi and all catholic politicians who support abortion, I will have no moral authority in the eyes of any christian.

"A government worth having promotes virtue in the people and in particular the virtues of self-reliance and self-control".

I think I agree with this. But my proclivity towards liberalism gives me pause. Is not a hallmark of classical liberalism the tenet that the state is neutral regarding citizens' pursuit of their own good? Talk of promoting virtues seems to stray from this, in my mind. Thoughts?

T,

But could there be any form of government that was not informed by certain value judgments and did not aim to inculcate some virtues?

Every gov't must make and enforce some laws. The positive law, however, presupposes some moral code or other such as the Decalogue. The Founders of the U.S. for example (and their English predecessors) accepted "Thou shalt not kill." This moral proscription is at the basis of the various legal proscriptions against murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, etc.

Value-free gov't is as unthinkable as value-free education. In the case of the latter there has to be at least the valuing of knowledge over ignorance.

To take a concrete example, a classical liberal will tolerate sodomy practiced by consenting adults but not rape or murder.

Joe,

Or rather it should have none.

T and BV, you seem to be mashing virtue and the good together. I see virtue as the personal character traits necessary to pursue the good. Thus, a gov't can and should promote virtue - self-reliance, honesty, responsibility, duty & respect towards oneself and others, and would also include in my view some appreciation of the transcendent in life, i.e., a non-sectarian God and religion - which would not per se direct any particular good, leaving that to the individual. This is the Founders' view, I believe, of what would constitute a classically liberal society. In sum, promote virtue and the citizens will naturally tend to adopt the good for themselves and society. BV's post highlights, for me, that what the State is doing is undermining virtue via a Huxleyian promotion of the very antithesis of virtue, the basest forms of pleasure.

BV, it seems to me that promoting certain 'values' such as the ones you mention is distinct from promoting certain virtues. The latter strikes as a more robust enterprise for the state to be involved in. So, I would agree that value-less government is not possible. I guess my worry was that, by promoting certain virtues in a more robust sense, the state is thereby assuming that a certain conception of the good life is one that its citizens should strive towards, namely, a virtuous life. Perhaps some citizens will have a conception of the good life that does not involve developing said virtues.

These are more questions rather than objections btw!

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