Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Wow. It's hard to do justice to your points at this late hour.

With respect to your first objection, that Hegel said that size should have nothing to do with political influence, I would say that Hegel was assuming that the "players" in the political process had a sense of civic virtue. In America today, it is clear that the players do not have this sense: a sense of or concern for the common good. Given that, one has to tactically fall back upon the idea of simple majority rule (expecting that the law will protect the rights of the minority, of course), given that on major issues, the American majority is progressive (even though you would never learn that from the corporate media).

Your next objection makes the point that "There's a very strong utilitarian aspect to liberalism." I don't see the import to that: from a Hegelian point of view, liberalism and utilitarianism go hand-in-glove. They both fail to see that there is something that transcends naked individual self-interest. You say that Hegel gives the state a quasi-divine status. That is correct as far as it goes: that is the status that the state deserves. Only the state can allow all citizens to live fulfilling lives, under capitalism. What higher value is there than that? Divine indeed.

Like you, the Bushies are focused on the individual. They don't like the state any more than you do. Furthermore, they understand that not all individuals are alike. Some are winners, some are losers. The state doesn't make that distinction. Face it: liberalism can't conceptualize an organic connection between the human beings making up a society. So it is very easy to slip from a benevolent liberalism—individuals with bad luck must be helped—to a malevolent liberalism—the best way to help individuals is to give them "incentives" to help themselves (even though, given their conditions, they can't).

I'm pleased to learn that Hegel advocated religious tolerance toward Quakers and Jews. But I am not surprised to learn that, since, unlike you, I understand that Hegel gives the individual his due. I don't call upon the state to impose secularism on individuals. My view is that secularism and Christianity are two sides of the same coin. And I got that idea from Hegel, so I would say that was his view as well, although he wouldn't have put it that way, since the concept of secularism didn't exist in his time. (He was instrumental in bringing it about.)

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Wed Jan 17th, 2007 at 03:42:51 AM EST
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