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Left Without a Future?: Social Justice in Anxious Times. APainter (2013), pp. 160-1

November 10, 2013

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“Politics as the progenitor of morality is, in some ways, a faintly disturbing notion, beyond a certain number of moral universals to which pretty much all right-minded people subscribe (such as ‘Thou shalt not kill’). The purpose of democracy is a genuine dialogue between moral viewpoints, as well as interests, values and needs. Your morality cannot be left in the temple when you step into the public square – or the marketplace. But a top-down moral politics in a pluralistic nation is bound to result in anger and resentment. So, no matter how mild the notion of ‘virtue’, the dangers are clear. When you reach for notions of ‘the common good’ or assert the virtue of community, then immediately it provokes questions of ‘Whose good?’ and ‘Whose notion of virtue?’ Quite quickly, it becomes the virtue of either the committed – the self-appointed organiser or ‘outlawguardian’ – or the powerful, no matter what checks are put in place. Each of us has a different configuration of Haidt’s five-slide equaliser, and we shall need to find a way of living a democratic life which acknowledges that and seeks to find a workable common ground.”

[op. cit., pp. 160-1]

Manuel J. Matos‘s insight:

The troubles of freedom always come around to reference. If there is none …

It’s like politics discovering religion all over again, ;-).

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