September 8th, 2012


it takes a village

Fevers are frustrating because they make me think deep thoughts while at the same time robbing my follow-through and ability to express them.

Case in point: I've been wondering just why I am so frustrated with politics these days. It's not just the stupey-faced do-nothing politicians and the symbolic "wars" over meaningless symbols while the real outrages go unmentioned because they affect other people. (*waves* at campaign against Mayor Bloomberg's soda-ban). It's more fundamental than that.

And fever-addled thoughts have either clarified this for me or else fed me a red herring. But right now, it seems crystal clear: both Nozick (libertarianism) + Rawls (liberalism) were Kantians. They're both about maximizing personal liberty and the individual's human dignity. Oh, they have different ways of doing it, obviously - but at least when I hear their various arguments, I see this goal lurking in the back. And over the years I've become more and more an Aristotelian. That means that, for me, flourishing has more to do with a community. We flourish when we are well-integrated into a good community, and that means we shouldn't treat other people instrumentally. Which basically means that the politics I see so much of in America has a very different view of human nature than I buy into. No wonder it seems like bumbling vanity half the time.

I'd need a blog post (or three) to flesh out what all this means, I think. That will wait until I'm feeling better. But the more I think about it, the more this seems to explain so much of how I react to the world.