This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
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
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...
View Full Document