"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Well, As Long As We're Being Shameless...

...perhaps the new guy can get away with inviting The Reform Club's readers to peruse this brief disquisition on classical liberalism and constitutionalism.

(It struck me as a bit discursive for this site.)

5 comments:

S. T. Karnick said...

I like it, Francis. As you probably know, I characterize myself as a classical liberal (never a conservative), and my particular way of describing it is to call it Reagan-Burke classical liberalism, or Burkean classical liberalism for those who know a little about political philosophy and history. To me, clarifying the importance of religion in the original formation of classical liberalism, which is so well evoked by the name of Edmund Burke, is the underappreciated aspect of this political philosopy. As it was common for the American founders to observe, liberty without religion (by which they meant Christianity) could not survive. Many people argue that Christianity is the enemy of freedom, but it was in Christendom that the idea of freedom arose and has ever been sustained.

Francis W. Porretto said...

I would agree, with a qualification. Christ did indeed set men free of arbitrary authority (John, chapter 8), but another component gets less recognition: the Roman invention of law as supreme over identity and group affiliation, which Isabel Paterson highlighted in her opening chapter of The God of the Machine. I would contend that both of these were critical to the development of Western conceptions of freedom.

S. T. Karnick said...

I suppose I should have made clear that Christendom does not refer to Christianity as a set of ideas but to its manifestation in Europe until at least the Renaissance. Your observation is correct.

James Elliott said...

Gasp and alack, Francis and I partly agree on something: The Roman influence on European concepts of liberty is gravely undervalued. And perhaps the Christian influence far too over-valued.

That said, there's a lot in Burke worth reading. Ever read any Oakeshott?

S. T. Karnick said...

By the way, Rome did not invent the supremacy of law over ethnic identity. Babylon practiced it long before Rome did.