Tuesday, September 27, 2011

p. 15-16 The Conservative Foundation of the Liberal Order, Mahoney

Why does Mahoney say that Tocqueville "belongs to an altogether different moral and political universe" than Locke and Hobbes?

(For Hobbes and Locke, human freedom and equality comes from a speculative, pre-political state of nature.)

The third chapter of Tocqueville's The Old Regime and the Revolution is titled "How the French Wanted Reforms before They Wanted Freedoms." In that chapter T. warns that "whoever seeks for anything from freedom but itself is made for slavery." Compare to 2 Peter 2:19.

This is the crux of preaching freedom "because it brings you wealth," or "because it reduces government oppression," or "because _____." Tocqueville's point is that freedom is a goal, and not a means to some other end. To treat freedom as a means to these ends is materialism, not liberty. Liberty = virtue.

See Luther's On Christian Freedom. Luther said that freedom from the Law is not autonomy from the law, but rather freedom from the temptation of sin made clear in the Law, in overwhelming preference for Christ. This is how Luther understood freedom = virtue. This is also much closer to Tocqueville who saw the importance of the church in American freedom that restrained it from a purely self-radicalizing freedom that only sought materialistic ends and the complete autonomy of the individual.

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