Tuesday, September 27, 2011

p. 14 The Conservative Foundation of the Liberal Order, Mahoney

Tocqueville's critique of his asst, Gobineau (and a fine critique of Nietsche's position), who believed in pure scientism:

No, I will not believe that this human species, which is at the head of visible creation, should become the debased flock that you tell us it is and that there is nothing more to do than to deliver it without future and without recourse to a small number of shepherds who, after all, are not better animals than we are and are often worse. You will permit me to have less confidence in you than in the bounty and justice of God.

Another way of putting this conservative foundation is this: God created man, God made man the head of all his creation, man is loved by God personally, and THEREFORE man can never be self-sovereign. Tocqueville attacks Gobineau for removing God from the picture thus allowing him to set himself up as the self-sovereign ruler of man.

Contrast this with clip below where Donahue complains that capitalism doesn't reward virtue, meaning that material rewards should follow from virtue. This is the opposite message of Christ, who foresaw not mundane rewards but earthly suffering for the virtuous. For Christ, following Him equated to virtue. There's little chance this is what Donahue meant by virtue, as evidenced by his belief that virtue should be rewarded with material gain. Tocqueville wasn't particularly Christian, but recognized the danger of material gain becoming the goal of democracy.

Friedman is brilliant in his answer to Donahue, and yet Friedman isn't as close to Tocqueville as he sounds. Donahue complains that capitalism doesn't reward virtue. Friedman rightly points out that no system or person does reward virtue, and no one should be trusted with doing so. But Tocqueville doesn't attack Gobineau just because he wants to be the entrusted ruler, but because Gobineau ignores the hierarchy of man's relationship with God. Friedman, God bless him, disregarded that hierarchy as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment