Sunday, February 13, 2005

The New Social Contract?

This is an interesting look at left thinking:
.. the Left of today represents an amalgam of the worst of capitalism and socialism: a purely corporate vision of social existence without any valuational unification. Hannah Arendt (the Human Condition) saw clearly that Hobbes had been wrong in his chronology: the social contract is not the beginning of social organization, it is the end. For the Left of today, the social contract, a purely pragmatic agreement of individuals driven only by self-interest, is the only rational understanding of the state. Arendt argues that when this is reached, we no longer have a polis, a political social organization with citizens, we have rather a corporate entity whose participants are producers and consumers. A polis is unified by a common ideology, its citizens do believe that there are things worth fighting and dying for; a corporation has no ideology, its members are participants of convenience. There is no loyalty to a corporation, there is to a polis. The Democrats are working in a country that began as a polis, has had the history of a polis, and more than half of which still understands itself as a polis. The citizens of that polis will not be easily swung by small plank changes in the party formula. Thus, the Democrats cling desperately to each element in their formula, abortion, pacifism, and homosexual marriage included, in the fear that abandoning it would lose a cluster of buyers, while gaining absolutely none that are new.
This makes me think about how we think about marriage. If marriage is only a contract of convenience to you, you probably have no problem with SSM. If you think marriage is something more, and prior to, a contract, then you will likely be opposed. Scott Hahn in First Comes Love makes a distinction that a contract is a business relationship and it can be withdrawn under the terms given when it was entered into. A covenant is a much older idea. A covenant can only be entered into; it cannot be broken, although it can be abandoned. The covenant idea is not as crazy as it sounds. It says that children are the marriage made flesh. They cannot be undone, and neither can the marriage. Interestingly, people who would balk at this description of marriage might willingly apply it to a nation. In the past that may have made some sense as the nation had much more unity than it has today. Today we are beginning to see "nations" made up of like minded people all over the world who share similar interests, whether it be cats, politics, or suicide voyuerism. I doubt that these new webs of relations can approach that kind of union. They do somewhat undermine the nation, though. The bigger question is if they can undermine the family. There does seem to be an international class of Rationalist jurists who think that they can. My money would be on religion, however. It can cut across space like an ideology, but it has physical basis that net groups or jet setters can't match. It also has a depth of human self understanding beyond that of rationalist creeds. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on the nature of the religion in question. ***** Finally - I got a big chuckle out of this one. Obviously these folks have never heard of the Argument from Reason. If genes cause us to believe in God, then why do we trust anything that passes through our heads, like, I don't know, how about the idea that genes cause us to believe in God? This is a sophisticated newspaper? Yeah, and Katie Couric is a genius.

No comments: