domingo, 22 de janeiro de 2006

Roger Scruton: liberalismo e conservadorismo; filosofia e verdade

Uma muito interesante entrevista de Roger Scruton cuja leitura recomendo, não só a liberais, como também a não liberais como o Corcunda ou o JG.

MG: What about the reaction among conservatives? I'm thinking in particular of your criticism of certain capitalist arguments. While noting the conservative affinity for private property, you say in your book that these arguments "present us with a vision of politics that is desultory indeed, as though the sole aim of social existence were the accumulation of wealth and the sole concern of politics the discovery of the most effective means to it." Did your lack of enthusiasm for free markets win you a warm reception with members of the Conservative Party?

Scruton: So far as I know The Meaning of Conservatism elicited no response whatsoever from the Conservative Party or those connected with it. There was, at the time, a small circle of intellectual conservatives at the London School of Economics -- a legacy from the days when Oakeshott and Popper both taught there -- and another at Cambridge. Neither of them seemed to notice the book. The Conservative Party was very much in the grip of the free market ideology relayed by the Institute for Economic Affairs. The view of the IEA at the time was that I, and the Salisbury Review which I founded, should be avoided, as exhibiting dangerous tendencies towards extremism, fascism etc., or alternatively as being part of a sophisticated KGB operation to split the Conservative Party. Later, however, the IEA's Social Affairs Unit, under the leadership of Digby Anderson, developed in a direction that I felt closer to, and broke away from the IEA.

MG: What deleterious consequences result from the "free market ideology" you mention? Are there particular economic arrangements that conservatives ought to prefer?

Scruton: The free market is a necessary part of any stable community, and the arguments for maintaining it as the core of economic life were unanswerably set out by Ludwig von Mises. Hayek developed the arguments further, in order to offer a general defence of "spontaneous order", as the means to produce and maintain socially necessary knowledge. As Hayek points out, there are many varieties of spontaneous order that exemplify the epistemic virtues that he values: the common law is one of them, so too is ordinary morality.

The problem for conservatism is to reconcile the many and often conflicting demands that these various forms of life impose on us. The free-market ideologues take one instance of spontaneous order, and erect it into a prescription for all the others. They ask us to believe that the free exchange of commodities is the model for all social interaction. But many of our most important forms of life involve withdrawing what we value from the market: sexual morality is an obvious instance, city planning another. (America has failed abysmally in both those respects, of course.)

Looked at from the anthropological point of view religion can be seen as an elaborate (and spontaneous) way in which communities remove what is most precious to them (i.e. all that concerns the creation and reproduction of community) from the erosion of the market. A cultural conservative, such as I am, supports that enterprise. I would put the point in terms that echo Burke and Chesterton: the free market provides the optimal solution to the competition among the living for scarce resources; but when applied to the goods in which the dead and the unborn have an interest (sex, for instance) it wastes what must be saved.


MG: The sort of conservatism you espouse is not easily expressed in slogans, nor do the arguments for it seem as easily mastered as those advanced in behalf of more populist varieties. What hope, if any, does your vision of conservatism have for gaining ascendancy?

Scruton: Of course it is not easy to put my kind of conservatism into slogans. That is a defect in slogans, and not in my conservatism. You cannot put Hayek's theory of the common law, Kant's theory of republican government, or Hegel's theory of civil society into slogans. But they are true, for all that. A philosophy is nothing if it does not aim at truth. (That is why Jacques Derrida and Giles Deleuze are not philosophers.) [destaques meus]

(via Nicolai Foss)

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