segunda-feira, setembro 05, 2005


Communitarians share with the Right an opposition to bureaucracy, but they don’t stop with an attack on governmental bureaucracy; they are equally sensitive to the spread of corporate bureaucracy in the misnamed private sector. Indeed they tend to reject the conventional distinction between the public and the private realm, which figures so prominently both in the liberal tradition and in the tradition of economic individualism which now calls itself conservatism (with little warrant). Both liberals and conservatives adhere to the same empty ideal of freedom as privacy; they disagree only about what is truly private. For liberals and “radicals,” it is freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of sexual preference that need to be protected, whereas those who call themselves conservatives value economic freedom more highly. The Left understands private life as primarily cultural, the Right as primarily economic. Communitarianism rejects both the left-wing and the right-wing version of the cult of privacy; and the promise of communitarian thought is already suggested by the difficulty of situating it on the conventional political spectrum. It breaks out of the deadlock between welfare liberalism and economic individualism, the opposition of which has informed so much of our politics in the past. Instead of setting up the protection of private judgment as the summit of political virtue, the communitarian point of view shows just how much the individual owes, not only “society” that abstraction routinely invoked by the Left—but to the concrete associations (in both senses of the word) without which we would be unable to develop any sense of personal identity at all. (subl. n/)