Liberal Education and the Civil Character: Civility demands that there be something higher than politics or else society will be shaped only by the will to power.
Attempts to reconcile the practice of civility with the right of free speech increasingly lead in fact to restrictions on speech that are supposed to protect everyone--or at least certain groups--from being offended. This is especially so on college campuses. Precisely where one might expect the greatest freedom of speech, "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings" are now the norm.
The conflict between civility and free speech cannot be resolved by any code of conduct or speech. The clash of my right to free speech and your right not to be offended leads to an impasse that is impossible to resolve on the level of rights. The impasse reveals our confusion over what civility is and what it is not. Civility is not a code of conduct but a virtue, a moral character that cannot be reduced to rules.
If we wish to understand what civility is, we need to see it in its origins, its emergence as a new moral character at the beginning of the modern era. This character was first given expression in the Essays of Michel de Montaigne. Civility is actually the overcoming of the will to power, the natural desire to dominate others, not a mask for covering over that natural political attitude. Without civility, there is only the will to power. And in order for civility to exist, there must be something higher, more important, than politics.
Civility does not appear among the moral virtues that Aristotle discusses in the Nicomachean Ethics. Beginning with courage and ending with the comprehensive political virtue of justice, Aristotle sets out the moral character that is desirable for political life. In book 1, he makes it clear that politics is the master science of the human good. The moral virtues, then, must be understood in relation to political life.
Not all forms of human association are "political" in the strict sense. Political relationships are ultimately concerned with the just and the unjust and with ruling and being ruled within the context of justice. Political association exists for the sake of the common good, and the common good is justice.
Aristotle sets forth what we might call a very strong notion of the common good. We tend to use that term rather loosely, but what Aristotle has in mind is a good that can only be pursued in common (not simply a good that we all as individuals happen to want, for example, food and shelter). The common good is justice, and justice is the virtue that in some sense includes the other virtues. The closest that Aristotle comes to the virtue of civility is what he calls "like-mindedness." This, he says, is "political friendship": "To the extent that people share in community, there is friendship, since to this extent there is also what is just."
Cities are like-minded "whenever people are of the same judgment concerning what is advantageous, choose the same things, and do what has been resolved in common." The six regimes discussed in Aristotle's Politics are judged to be good or bad, just or unjust, according to the standard of the common good. And this standard persisted in political life and political philosophy through the Middle Ages.
It is this standard that modern political philosophy, beginning with Machiavelli, rejects. Machiavelli points toward the idea of civility in a term that he invented, "the civil principality." But it is Michel de Montaigne who is the first to present us with a portrait of the civil character in his essays, a genre that he himself invented as the expression of this character.
Like Machiavelli, Montaigne rejects the standard of the common good. In fact, he claims that the idea of the common good is simply the "pretext of reason" for the actions of vicious men. (1) He says that since philosophy has not been able to find a way to the good that is common, "let each one seek it in his particularity!" If there is no common good, then each individual is free to pursue the good in his own way. Whereas Aristotle, in his discussion of "the best city," writes, "one ought not even consider that a citizen belongs to himself, but rather that all belong to the city; for each individual is a part of the city," Montaigne says that "the greatest rhing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself."
"Let each one seek it in his particularity"--individual freedom--is the first pillar of liberalism. (Here I am referring to what might be called "classical liberalism," not to liberalism as it is most often used in our contemporary debates between left and right.) But how can these free individuals, who are not bound to each other by the common good, constitute any kind of community?
The second pillar of liberalism, then, is representative government and the rule of law. The question that subsequently arises--and that has become especially acute in our own day--is whether the rule of law is sufficient to constitute community. This is where civility comes in. Law alone is not enough. The disposition to obey the laws must derive from a more fundamental desire to live in a community that is governed by laws. Civility is the virtue that binds free individuals in a community under laws. And as a virtue, civility is not reducible to a set of rules but requires the exercise of individual judgment.
Aristotle calls the city the "political community." Civil society is not a political community. "It is the web of associations formed by the interactions of individuals as they seek the fulfillment of the purposes peculiar to them as individuals pursuing their private happiness." (2) The separation of politics from this web of free associations is essential to the existence of civil society. You simply don't have civil society if everything is political. The nature of civility, as it is reflected in Montaigne's character, follows from this separation of civil society from politics.
The character that Montaigne displays in the essays is, first and foremost, the character of a man who desires neither to rule nor be ruled, neither to command nor be commanded. His love of freedom expresses itself in his hatred of "every sort of tyranny, both in words and acts." When he says, "I am disgusted with mastery both active and passive," he explains what he means through the story of Otanes, who had the right to pretend to the throne of Persia but abandoned that right to his companions provided that he and his family be allowed to live in the empire "outside of all subjection and mastery" except that of the ancient laws. He could not support either commanding or being commanded. Montaigne says that Otanes took the course of action that Montaigne himself would willingly have taken.
Montaigne's stance toward politics is one of detachment. Although he was elected to two terms as mayor of Bordeaux and also played a role as negotiator between princes in the civil wars of his day, Montaigne did not seek his own good in politics, either as ruler or as servant to princes. Speaking of his own exercise of rule, Montaigne says that "the Mayor and Montaigne have always been two, with a very clear separation." This separation of the man from the ruler later becomes the basis of representative government.
Further, Montaigne's service to any prince was limited by the demands of his conscience. There are princes, he says, "who do not accept men halfway and scorn limited and conditional services. There is no remedy. I frankly tell them my limits....And they too are wrong to demand of a free man the same subjection and obligation to their service as they demand of a man whom they have made and bought, or whose fortune is particularly and expressly attached to theirs." He would not, he says, betray a private person for the prince. Nor will he knowingly lie for the prince. The actions of those who betray and lie for the king are not only low but "also prostitute [their] conscience."
This is why, in his essay on the education of children, he says:
If [the young man's] tutor is of my disposition, he will form his will to be a very loyal, very affectionate, and very courageous servant of his prince; but he will cool in him any desire to attach himself to that prince otherwise than by a sense of public duty. Besides several other disadvantages which impair our freedom by these privare obligations, the judgment of a man who is hired and bought is either less whole and less free, or tainted with imprudence and ingratitude. A courtier can have neither rhe right nor the will to speak and think otherwise than favorably of a master who among so many thousands of other subjects has chosen him to train and raise up with his own hand. This favor and advantage corrupt his freedom...and dazzle him.
Montaigne's detachment from politics is a "limited and conditional" service.
There are many aspects of Montaigne's character that contribute to his presentation of civility, but I will emphasize here only one. Montaigne holds that the social bond is truth. "Since mutual understanding is brought about solely by way of the word, he who falsifies it betrays human society. It is the only instrument by means of which our wills and thoughts communicate; it is the interpreter of our soul. If it fails us, we have no more hold on each other, no more knowledge of each other. If it deceives us, it breaks up all our relations and dissolves all the bonds of our society." Lying is such a destructive vice because "we are men and hold together only by our word." Truth is the "first and fundamental part of virtue," and "the first stage in the corruption of morals is the banishment of truth."
Therefore, free speech and the free expression of opinion are fundamental to civil society and civility. Montaigne describes himself as open to all opinions and to heated discussion. "I do not at all hate opinions contrary to mine. I am so far from being vexed to see discord between my judgments and others', and from making myself incompatible with the society of men because they are of a different sentiment and party from mine, that on the contrary, since variety is the most general fashion that nature has followed, and more in minds than bodies... I find it much rarer to see our humors and designs agree. And there were never in the world two opinions alike, any more than two hairs or grains. Their most universal quality is diversity." The most important diversity, then, is diversity of minds.
In "Of the Art of Discussion," he elaborates on the attitudes that free speech requires. "I enter into discussion and argument with great freedom and ease, inasmuch as opinion finds in me a bad soil to penetrate and take deep roots in. No propositions astonish me, no belief offends me, whatever contrast it offers with my own." He is not offended nor does he respond with anger: "So contradictions of opinions neither offend nor affect me; they merely arouse and exercise me....When someone opposes me, he arouses my attention, not my anger."
Montaigne associates the inability to converse in this manner with a tyrannical disposition: "It is always a tyrannical ill humor to be unable to endure a way of thinking different from your own." In fact, in what may be the only instance in the Essays where he refers to himself as perfect, he says with respect to bantering and joking: "I am perfect in forbearance, for I endure retaliation, not only sharp but even indiscreet, without being disturbed."
The sociologist Edward Shils notes that liberal democratic regimes place great burdens on the civil sense because they permit open conflict and acknowledge and thus encourage partisanship. Civility, however, requires a transcendence of partisanship. This is possible only if politics is not the most important domain of human life. And this is what is implied in Montaigne's detachment from politics. The criterion by which civil politics operates is a solicitude for the interest of the whole society, for the community that is distinguished from the ruler-ruled relationship. Civility, then, is "the concern for the maintenance of the civil society as a civil society," that is, as a society of free association of individuals. (3) If there is nothing above politics, namely, the community of civil society, then politics itself cannot be civil.
Shils argues that, as unlikely as it may sound, societies that do not know individuality and individual freedom also live without a sense of civil affinity, for civility is "shriveled and shrunken by fear." (4) In his "Trust, Confidence, and the Problem of Civility," Adam B. Seligman also shows us something of the way civility assumes the freedom of individuals. The existence of a civil, free society depends upon trust. "Trust becomes necessary in the face of the free, autonomous, and hence unknowable individual. This self-regarding individual stands at the source of the new terms of civility and friendship that define the modern age." The need for trust made the idea of the "promise" central to early modern political theory. A civil society requires a shared belief in the act of promise keeping. "It is only when agency, in the freedom of promise keeping, can come to play a major role, that trust must also come to play a part in defining intetpersonal relations. Trust is not only a means of negotiating risk; it implies risk," namely, writes Seligman, the risk "inherent in the other person's agency." (5)
Seligman uses the etiquette of smoking as an example of the way in which agency, risk, and trust function in a free society. Before the days of laws governing smoking, he would ask those around him if they would mind if he smoked. If anyone objected, he would not light up. Seligman explains that "by voluntarily refraining from smoking and so circumscribing my will in favor of the interests of a stranger, I was establishing, in however passing, fleeting and inconsequential a matter, a social bond." The act of asking permission to smoke is a recognition of the choice that the other must make to conform or not to our wishes. We thus recognize his agency and, in so doing, recognize his selfhood.
But now there are all kinds of legal restrictions on where it is permissible to smoke. The proliferation of legal constraints eliminates both the need and the opportunities for civility in this matter. Seligman sees the proliferation of legal norms as inimical to the development of the trust that is necessary for the virtue of civility. "In the absence of trust we have 'speech codes' and other forms of regulation of interpersonal behavior." Further, much of this regulation is framed in terms of collective identities (ethnicity, gender, sexual preferences). But group identity is precisely what civil society is supposed to surpass.
The role of individual freedom in the maintenance of a civil society is, as seen in Montaigne, especially significant with respect to freedom of speech. "Speech codes" and the enforcement of politically correct speech are inimical to civility, although these are often defended as supposedly necessary to civility.
In his "Civility and the Limits of the Tolerable," Edwin J. Delattre argues against this ethos of political correctness. In particular, he is critical of the prevalent idea that tolerance of differences and being "nonjudgmental" are the highest virtues and that judging others or their ways of thinking, feeling, and acting is itself uncivil. On the contrary, such ideas are actually destrucrive of the virtue of civility because there is an essential difference between respect and nonjudgmental tolerance. Tolerance "normally presupposes judgment in the sense that we tolerate what we have judged to be in some way wrong, deficient, or objectionable, but not to merit our interference." The idea that being civil means being nonjudgmentally tolerant reduces civility to a "demeaning sensitivity." (6)
We see this servile sensitivity in the substitution of the autobiographical revelation for the normative assertion or judgment. "The assertion that X is false or wrong demands justification, the giving of reasons, respect for evidence, knowledge of relevant fact and principles, etc. The autobiographical report 'I am not comfortable with X' cannot be logically criticized," Delattre writes. This exclusion of reason from discourse is, in effect, uncivil.
"When civility becomes a sensitivity that, like indiscriminate tolerance, casts aside regard for the truth, it bears little resemblance to civility understood as liberal learning, manners and morals, or behavior appropriate to the discourse of civilized people, or even plain courtesy," he continues. "Indeed, where the idea of civility is equated with the idea of sensitively coddling sensitivities that make us too frail to bear the truth, civility can no longer be associated with our having any sort of genuine and decent respect for one another. It is, after all, an expression of piry, not of respect, to say of persons that they are too sensitive, too fragile, ever to bear learning that they have made, or are making, a mistake."
This demeaning and servile sensitivity reduces the individual to a whimpering victim, usually a mere member of a victim group, rather than affirming the individual as an independent moral agent. Genuine respect for others means treating them as intelligent human beings who have the willingness and the strength to bear disagreement and criticism.
Peter Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal, has argued that political correctness, not income inequality, racism, or sexism, is actually the central problem in our universities and our society because it is a form of thought control that accounts for the expanding timidity in American society: "Properly understood, political correctness is an unwillingness to think for oneself, a fear of stepping outside the bounds, this incredible pressure to conform. It is the core problem in our universities and our society at large." (7)
Politically correct speech is inimical to civility because it prevents the development of the virtue of civility. Civility is not a set of rules for the smooth functioning of society: it is a moral character and an ability to make moral judgments that is enjoyed by the person who possesses it. Civility includes respect for others and respect for oneself as a moral agent who can think for himself.
The conditions for a free civil society are tradition and free institutions. At first sight, tradition and freedom may seem like opposites, but in fact tradition is necessary for society because respect for the individual comes from tradition, especially religion. And free institutions (family, church, university) are where tradition is inculcated and strengthened.
In order to see the role that tradition plays in civil society, it is helpful to contrast tradition with ideology. Shils defines ideology as the belief that "politics should be conducted from the standpoint of a coherent, comprehensive set of beliefs which must override every other consideration." Ideology radiates into every sphere of life: it replaces religion and rules over philosophy and even family life. Ideological politics is an orientation toward an "ideal," with the conviction that the attainment of the ideal will institute a condition of perfection, a new order in which all the evils of the existing system will have been overcome. Therefore, ideology breeds "a deep distrust of traditional institutions" (such as family, church, schools) as the source of these evils and as obstacles to progress toward the ideal. (8) For ideological politics, writes Shils, the highest end is "a purified and perfected society."
The political philosopher Michael Oake-shott describes a political ideology as an abstract principle or set of principles for determining what end should be pursued. Sometimes this is a single abstract idea such as freedom or equality; sometimes it is a complex scheme of related ideas, such as democracy or Marxism. Those who see politics this way believe that an ideology can take the place of understanding the tradition of political behavior. But for Oakeshott, every political ideology is an abstraction from and therefore a distortion of a tradition of political activity. (9)
In a free society, tradition can never be supplanted by calculation, reason, or power. One of the most important differences between ideology and tradition is that tradition is not just ideas, or a "system" of ideas, but includes sentiments and sensibilities. It is what Oakeshott calls "a flow of sympathy." Tradition is the social bond. Force and coercion are aspects of social order, but it is not possible to maintain a social order based solely on these considerations. Social order rests on those precontractual elements of solidarity whose source is the sacred. (10)
Unlike ideology, tradition is not about ideals. It is not concerned with attaining a condition of perfection and is not just about the future. But neither is it just about the past. The social bond, the sense of affinity on which civil politics rests, is not the work of the moment but connects us to those who have lived, are living, and will live within that bond. The social bond in a free society depends upon recognition of the individuality and freedom of each of the participants. Shils argues that our appreciation of the autonomy and intrinsic worth of the individual human being and of the value of his self-expression is fundamentally an appreciation of the sacredness of his existence. And that appreciation can come only from religious tradition. (11)
While it may seem that a strong sense of tradition within a civil society inhibits change, correction, and improvement, Shils claims that criticism, correction, and improvement of any institution requires the context that is provided by tradition because tradition provides an underlying stability. "Order is preserved by the integration of conflicting interests, the authority of tradition and law, and by leaving an area for the conflict of interests to work itself out freely." (12)
Civil society consists of "institutions which hedge about the power of the state" and presupposes a government of limited powers. The separation of civil society from the state or government requires the safeguards of competing political parties, a representative legislature, an independent judiciary, and a free press. But civil society also requires free institutions that are not only independent of government control but that set limits on the power of the government. Shils mentions especially the moral, religious, intellectual, and economic institutions that have authority and autonomy, and that, at the same time, foster the virtue of civility. If there is no civil society, if the state oppresses and suppresses these free institutions, then "the government is subject to no higher authority than itself" and there is no power or authority that transcends the power of the state. "A totalitarian society is the antithesis of civil society." (13)
I have already mentioned Shils's discussion of the role of religion in the formation of the civil character. Shils also makes the case that the free market helps to foster independent judgment, a fact that became obvious with the collapse of the communist regimes of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The institution of private property and the autonomy of the market guarantee the autonomy of other institutions as well.
Finally, the independence of the universities is crucial to the maintenance of civil society. Shils argues that the universities should, in principle, be "an authority standing outside the political struggle." (14)
We turn then to the university in order to take up the question of the relationship of liberal education to the virtue of civility. Two views dominate current discussions of the meaning and purpose of liberal education. First, the claim is often made that college must be a "safe space" in which everyone's feelings must be respected and no one should be made to feel uncomfortable. College is the safe space in which we learn to be tolerant and nonjudgmental. Second, we are told that the purpose of liberal education is to foster "critical thinking."
On the face of it, these two positions are contradictory. Doesn't "critical thinking" have to make us uncomfortable? What is it that we are encouraged to criticize if everything must be tolerated? What is critical thinking?
Martha Nussbaum provides a good example of the view that the purpose of liberal education is to foster critical thinking. In her book Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, Nussbaum claims that the spirit of the humanities is "critical thought" and that the ideal to be sought in the study of the humanities is "critical questioning." She explains that what critical thinking entails is "a hatred of dead and imprisoning traditions." (15) The goal of our teaching of critical thinking is to make students "responsible democratic citizens" and to make them "complete citizens who can think for themselves, [and] criticize tradition." So "critical thinking" is, first and foremost, criticizing tradition. But this is to be done in service to democratic ideals. In other words, "critical thinking" is the defense of the prevailing ideology, the criticism of tradition by the standard of an ideal of perfection.
Yet in truth liberal education is neither about creating a "safe space" nor about "critical thinking" but about the formation of judgment. In John Henry Newman's words, it is about the formation of the "philosophical habit of mind." As Montaigne says in his essay on this subject, the education, work, and study of the student aim only at forming his judgment, a work that is all his own. Forming the judgment is making the tradition one's own. One's judgment is one's individuality: it is "thinking for oneself." As Newman describes this in The Idea of a University, judgment is "intellectual self-possession." (16)
Contrary to the view that college is supposed to create a "safe space" by teaching that tolerance is the highest virtue and that we must be nonjudgmental, Edwin Delattre argues that education is supposed to cultivate intellectual powers and moral sensibilities, including intellectual honesty and discrimination, and the clear awareness that the well-mannered exposure of error is neither uncivil nor intolerant. "As long as a sentimental relativism pervades our institutions, we must expect cynicism within them, and opposition to intellectual and moral seriousness, self-knowledge, and wisdom." (17)
Contrary to Nussbaum, thinking for oneself can only be done against the background of the tradition. That is why we study the history of philosophy. As Michael Oakeshott puts it: our inheritance--our tradition--is "the ground and context of every judgment of better and worse." Cultivating judgment requires engagement with the tradition because, as Oakeshott says, "to see oneself in the mirror of the present world is to see a sadly distorted image of a human being." The task of the teacher is to free his pupils from servitude to the present, to current dominant feelings, emotions, images, ideas, and beliefs. (18) Education is not about "the fleeting wants and sudden enthusiasms" of contemporary life. It requires direction and restraint, and so it cannot be immediately connected with the current wants or "interests" of the learner. Good judgment requires what Oakeshott calls the "discipline of inclination" that fosters the habits of attention, concentration, exactness, courage, and intellectual honesty. (19) In other words, although judgment must ultimately be exercised with respect to the choices that must be made in everyday life, it cannot be acquired by attention to the "burning questions of the day": it is the tradition that is the ground and context of judgment.
In his essay on "The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind," Oakeshott quotes William Cory, master at Eton, in his address to his students: "You go to a great school not so much for knowledge as for arts and habits; for the habit of attention, for the art of expression, for the art of assuming at a moment's notice a new intellectual position, for the art of entering quickly into another person's thoughts, for the habit of submitting to censure and refutation, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms, for the habit of regarding minute points of accuracy, for the art of working out what is possible in a given time, for taste, discrimination, for mental courage and mental soberness. Above all you go to a great school for self-knowledge." (20)
Learning to think is "learning to recognize and enjoy the intellectual virtues": disinterested curiosity, patience, intellectual honesty, exactness, industry, concentration, doubt, sensibility to small differences, the ability to recognize intellectual elegance, and the disposition to submit to refutation. The intellectual virtues cannot be reduced to "critical thinking." It is especially remarkable that, for Oakeshott, the most important achievement of liberal education with respect to judgment is "the ability to detect the individual intelligence" that is at work in every human being, that is, to detect the "style" of another human being in what he says. Style is "the choice made, not according to the rules, but within the area of freedom left by the negative operation of rules." (21) In other words, it is the way in which the individual exercises his judgment. So judgment is what constitutes individuality and, at the same time, makes possible the recognition of individuality in others. Liberal education, then, is for the sake of the individual himself, but, at the same time, it fashions him as a civil character.
The contrast between "critical thinking" (which I have associated with defense of ideology) and judgment (which I have associated with the appropriation of tradition) can be further elucidated with respect to the study of political philosophy. If the study of political philosophy is limited to the discussion of "the burning questions of the day," it can give us little guidance about how to think about these questions. Political reasoning, according to Oakeshott, is not about ideals of perfection to be achieved in the future but about intimations of what is already present in the tradition. If we see political reasoning that way, "our mistakes of understanding will be less frequent and less disastrous" because we will escape the ideological illusion that we can remodel society according to a dream or a principle. (22) Liberal education helps us to cultivate "the highest and most easily destroyed of human capacities," the "negative capability" that is the ability to suspend one's judgment. (23) The study of the history of political philosophy fosters a skeptical understanding of political activity. "The more thoroughly we understand our own political tradition, the more readily its whole resources are available to us, the less likely we shall be to embrace the illusions which wait for the ignorant and the unwary: the illusion that politics can get on without a tradition of behavior." (24)
Most important, philosophy leads us to consider the place of politics within our total experience. Philosophy is not ideology or the defense of ideology. Philosophy allows us to see more clearly what is more important than politics. Politics is not everything. And not everything is politics.
The virtue of civility rests on this conviction of the limits of politics and this acceptance of the imperfection of political and social life. To conclude with a quotation about liberal education from none other than the founder of liberalism: "Education," says Machiavelli, "by making you a better knower of the world, makes you rejoice less in the good and be less aggrieved with the bad." (25)
(1) References are to the English translation of Donald Frame, The Complete Essays of Montaigne (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1943).
(2) Francis Slade, "Two Versions of Political Philosophy: Teleology and the Conceptual Genesis of the Modern State," in Natural Moral Law in Contemporary Society, ed. Holger Zaborowski (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2010), 250.
(3) Edward Shils, The Virtue of Civility, ed. Steven Grosby (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1997), 346.
(4) Ibid., 61.
(5) Adam B. Seligman, "Trust, Confidence, and the Problem of Civility," in Civility, ed. Leroy S. Rouner (Notre Dame, IN: University of None Dame Press, 2000), 68-69.
(6) Edwin J. Delattre, "Civility and the Limits of the Tolerable," in Civility, ed. Leroy S. Rouner (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), 154-55.
(7) Peter Thiel, ISI Dinner for Western Civilization, October 23, 2014.
(8) Shils, 26-27.
(9) Michael Oakeshott, The Voice of Liberal Learning, ed. Timothy Fullet (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2001), 164-72.
(10) Seligman, 68.
(11) Ibid., 110.
(12) Ibid., 118.
(13) Ibid., 73.
(14) Ibid., 87.
(15) Martha Nussbaum, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Princeton: Ptinceton University Press, 2010), 68.
(16) John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University (Notre Dame, IN: Univetsity of Notre Dame Press, 1982), 115.
(17) Delattre, 166-67.
(18) Oakeshott, 42-43.
(19) Ibid., 68-69.
(20) From William Cory, Master at Eton, quoted in Michael Oakeshott, "The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind," in Rationalism in Politics (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Press, 1991), 491-92.
(21) Oakeshott, 59.
(22) Ibid., 174-75.
(23) Ibid., 148.
(24) Ibid., 184.
(25) Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), bk. 3, chap. 31, p. 283.
Ann Hartle is professor emeritus of philosophy at Emory University and the author of Montaigne and the Origins of Modern Philosophy. This essay is adapted from a paper presented at the 2016 annual conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses.
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|Date:||Jun 22, 2018|
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