Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Michael Oakeshott por Sullivan

o texto está recomendado no post O conservadorismo explicado, 31 da Armada. Não sei quanta direita portuguesa hoje está livre dos tiques neocons de optimismo construtivista revolucionário para levar (como Napoleão, que dizem não gostar, por via militar) a luz do voto universal e direitos das mulheres aos desertos tribais dos outros, mas fica a nota.

Taking the world as it is, ANDREW SULLIVAN

"This was the opposite of doctrine. He represented what is best described as the conservatism of doubt. For him, ideology and certainty were as vulgar as they were untrue. He preferred the tradition of individual liberty and limited government, but he also accepted that there would be times when a society would have to act collectively towards a communal project — war, for example, or public education. What mattered was not right over left, but pragmatism over ideology. It is for this reason that American neoconservatives have so rejected him. For them, conservatism is about timeless truths — God-given liberty to everyone on earth, the need to promote good and punish evil, and to instil in the populace a respect for the universal truths America and the West represented. For them, conservatism is a political identity, not a human disposition. I remember once discussing Oakeshott with the father of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol. For him, Oakeshott was anathema, a dangerous relativist, an irresponsible bohemian, indifferent to the need to fight and win in political combat. In this diagnosis, Kristol was indeed correct.


But Oakeshott would have insisted that combat is less human than conversation; and that all we really know is in the unspoken traditions and sentiments that a coherent society musters for itself. He would have insisted that Western freedom was indeed a singular civilisational achievement — but also that it could not be separated from its unique historical and cultural emergence in the nation states of Western Europe since the Reformation. It did not exist as an abstraction, an idea or a truth, but as a cultural construct in a moment in time. And so the notion that Western liberty could suddenly be transplanted to, say, Iraq, would be a mistake. The idea wasn’t necessarily evil or ill-intentioned; it was simply wrong, and would end in tears. And Oakeshott’s insistence on this political and epistemological modesty in the end made American pragmatists and liberals more interested in him than in the neocons or the religious right.

The neocons also, of course, disapproved."

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