Georgetown University’s Patrick J. Deneen opens this month’s Cato Unbound talking about one of our frequent conversation topics, Phillip Blond and his Red Tory synthesis:
[L]iberal anthropology… underlies both the Left’s infatuation with the State as an agent of liberation, as well as the Right’s embrace of the Market as the primary engine of human liberty. While seemingly opposed, both agents are understood to derive from, and ultimately support, the maintenance of the autonomous, freely willing self. Both are curiously anti-social entities, relying on impersonal mechanisms for the supply of human goods. Both ask little of individuals by way of actual concern for, or deep involvement with, the lives and fates of others. Our relationships, either through the State and the Market, are rendered abstract and theoretical, with each serving respectively as the impersonal replacement for actual human relations and commitments. Each relieves selves of the burdens and obligations of care, and instead derives from an understanding of polity and society in which the self can be only truly liberated when relations are rendered fungible, voluntary and contingent.
As many of you already know, I can’t say that I fully agree with the diagnosis, but I’m not an active participant in the discussion. At the moment I’m just a facilitator. Please do read the whole thing, though, and stop by again for future installments of what’s likely to be a very interesting and wide-ranging discussion.