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Civility and Democracy

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posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 09:06 PM
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www.frontporchrepublic.com...


First Hobbes and then Locke rejected this conception of politics as too confining for individuals. Instead (Locke particularly) commended a conception of politics as an arrangement of mutual convenience that was organized to allow for the individual pursuit of happiness. The cultivation of manners was rendered secondary to the training of people to become useful and productive members of society (“industrious and rational”), better to increase material growth and power that would in turn offer more opportunities for human liberation from natural constraints. Liberty became defined not as “self-government under laws self-imposed,” but as the greatest possible absence of restraint. Manners necessarily faded in importance – instead, liberal society favors “authenticity” and “self-expression” those watch-words of our individualism that excuse all manners of public and private offense.

A mannered society thus relies less on laws as the way we enforce social norms: a polite society needs fewer policies and police. A liberal society inevitably has more of the latter, less of the former. Ironically, a liberal society will come to rely on the enforcement mechanisms of the State as replacements of practices of civility. As Aristotle noted, the law-suit will replace civic friendship as a prevailing norm. Politics itself will come to be understood – in the famous words of Harold Laswell – “who gets what, when, and how.” For the ancients, the emphasis was on the the “who”; for moderns, the emphasis is on “gets.”


“Pursuit of happiness”, we hear this phrase pushed emphatically by the loyalists to the Declaration of Independence. However this phrase is not copyrighted by said document, instead it was one regularly preached by the enlightened thinkers imposing individualism upon 18th and 19th century Western society.

While we would genuinely enjoy the ability to pursue happiness on a regular daily basis many factors impede upon our ability to do so. These impediments range from our family, friends, jobs, manners, customs, or laws, however the argument held by the individualists is that this pursuit should be acceptably triumphant over the obstacles of what has become pre-modern expectations, such as manners, virtue, responsibility, respect, and honor, none of which are held in reverence today.

Have we become nothing more than a tool for higher gain? The human identity, what makes us unique and special, has that been joyfully stripped away from our being? By the hands of individualists, one-by-one, society crumbled and continues on that same path. Marked by the view of humans as merely objects from which we can use to elevate ourselves or are seen as road blocks, stopping us from our pursuit of happiness.

In what way can we remove the social restrictions upon individuals and expect them to act as respectable citizens? They will not act respectable or honorable when happiness is the chief aim of theirs. Laws will become the enforcement of morality rather than civil society. We have lost our path, when happiness is deemed more important than virtue, our civility soon eludes us.

Freedom, when analyzed from the perspective that it is equivalent to individualism, results in the loss of both and the division of society. We must become our own police, monitor our behavior and our thoughts, regulate our expectations and our pursuits. When the rebel is valued over the virtuous, everyone loses.
edit on 3/2/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:24 PM
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BUMP

Sorry mods.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:30 PM
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In what way can we remove the social restrictions upon individuals and expect them to act as respectable citizens? They will not act respectable or honorable when happiness is the chief aim of theirs. Laws will become the enforcement of morality rather than civil society. We have lost our path, when happiness is deemed more important than virtue, our civility soon eludes us.


Misoir, we differ in opinion often, but in this case I will agree with you.

IMO we need financial freedom before the real pursuit of happiness can occur. Everything else at this point is non-relevent to our society as it is our biggest problem.

~Keeper



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:38 PM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


I agree with you. Our current political construct is based upon the foundation of varying economic strategies, rather than upon the betterment of the community and the family. Economics should not ever be the driving force behind a nation or even the people within a nation, for we will soon fail to see ourselves outside of the world of materialism. The issue of money has for too long ruled over us like a despot rules over his subjects, guiding our every desire and our every action.

While I do not advocate for nationalization of core sectors of the economy along the modern bureaucratic lines I would be willing to accept the concept of government, governed by virtue, as the allocator of many essential services for society. There are certain aspects of human dignity that must be retained, poverty as currently acknowledged is something that people are psychologically taught to be ashamed of in this materialistic world, rather than it seen as something which must be removed by the benevolence of society.

The greatest politician and political thinker in Western history, Edmund Burke, put it best:


But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.

edit on 3/2/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:45 PM
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reply to post by Misoir
 


That's the whole point.

Government by virtue, not by necessity IMO.

I think a lot of the time people mistake what government does for what it should do, which is provide essential services, serve the will of the people and stay the hell out of our business otherwise.

What we have now is Corporate Government, always worrying about the bottom line instead of the people who supply that money train. It's an unfortunate time we live in really, hopefully it will be a time of great change and I will see progress in my lifetime.

The uprisings in the middle east were a pleasant surprise however, but that's the best place for revolution to start.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:52 PM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


We agree on many core concepts, you and I, however after reading your well constructed response my analysis has concluded we are definitely not on the same philosophical plane. Nevertheless your opinion is of value to me and we agreed on something of relative significant importance to me, a government by virtue.

Please, I do encourage you to take a few hours of your presumably busy schedule and read over the works of great philosophers and writers such as Edmund Burke, Joseph de Maistre, Alexander Hamilton, and G.K. Chesterton. All of these men contributed greatly to the ideas I do hold dear.

If you do this please send me a u2u afterwards and let me know what you think.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:56 PM
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reply to post by Misoir
 


I'll be honest with you, I'm a Socialist at heart. Without the whole totalitarian part though. Canada is a good example of a socialist democracy, along with other countries like Sweden and Norway.

I think that model should be followed, but there are better ways of doing it. I am familiar with some of those philosophers, but it's been a while since I was in University lol

I'm gonna go dust off my philosphy books though and take another look, I'd be meaning to do so for a while now.

~Keeper



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:58 PM
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Originally posted by tothetenthpower

IMO we need financial freedom before the real pursuit of happiness can occur. Everything else at this point is non-relevent to our society as it is our biggest problem.


And I suggest a way to obtain financial freedom - for EVERY ONE of us on this planet.

www.abovetopsecret.com...

And the Ethical Planetarian Party. See link in my sig.



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