Indeed the power of the liberal individualist

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Unformatted text preview: y could CEU eTD Collection be seen as a logical consequence of the second type of relationship to one’s of ground project. That would, according to Macintyre, be a case with Socrates in Crito. The state is, in the famous words of Socrates, also a parent, that is – it takes care that the children will grow up into virtous adults. So, although the state itself is not a practice, but an institution, it is the institution that enables the long-term survival and development of the tradition of practice. 48 Macintyre, “Magic in the Pronoun My”, 121 Ibid, 121 50 Ibid, 121 51 Ibid, 121 49 30 But, Macintyre is quick to add that: “It does not of course follow from from an acceptance of the Socratic view of political community and political authority that we ought to assign to the modern state the moral function that Socrates assigned to the city and its laws. Indeed the power of the liberal individualist standpoint partly derives from the evident fact that the modern state is indeed unfitted to act as moral educator of any community” 52. It is because of this unfittedness of the modern state to act as an educator that liberal morality must posit itself as neutral among different conceptions of good life. 53 Says Macintyre: “For liberal individualism, a community is simply an arena in which individuals pursue their own self-chosen conception of the good life, and political institutions exist to provide that degree of order which makes such self-determined activity.” 54 It must be, then, that the only way that a citizen of the modern state can relate to the nation as her ground project is in the first way that Macintyre desribes, and that would be to value it exactly because it is hers, and this is exactly what Tamir proposes. Since this ground project would be self-chosen, there seems to be no obvious inconsistency with liberal morality. Indeed, Bernard Williams proposes a similar solution for the problem of free-riding: if people are motivated by a sense of fairness or altruism then they have reason to contribute to the public good. There is nothing irrational in them having this kind of motivation, or in the CEU eTD Collection state encouraging them to have this kind of motivation. Tamir’s suggestion is on the surface very much like Williams’, but, as I will show, also differs from it in some very important respects which make it much more problematic if not downright unfeasible. First, as I will show, it is far from clear that it is not irrational for a citizen of a liberal state to adopt a nationalistic ground project, and actually there are strong 52 After Virtue, 195 And unlike many other communitarian philosophers, Macintyre claims that liberal neutrality is the best principle for running a state of this type. “Where liberals have characteristically insisted that government should give expression to some shared vision of the common good , contemporary communitarians have urged that such government should give expression to some shared vision of the human good (...) [F]rom my own point of view communitarians have attac...
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2013 for the course ENGLISH LI 21 taught by Professor Han during the Fall '13 term at Tsinghua University.

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