Hypocrisy or wisdom?

from the most recent G-File (Jonah Goldberg):

Paul Ryan is a mainstream modern conservative. That means he holds a lot of libertarian ideas and a lot of social-conservatives ideas simultaneously in his head. While it is absolutely true that Ayn Rand and, say, Thomas Aquinas (whom Ryan claims as a bigger influence) aren’t exactly complementary to each other, that doesn’t mean that faithfully admiring both intellectual traditions will make your head explode like Android #1 in “I, Mudd.”

Think of it this way. When you make a jigsaw puzzle, first you take the picture, then you cut the pieces. You don’t draw a picture on each piece and then try to fit them together.

The modern conservative mind is composed of many influences, some libertarian, some more traditional. Cut a picture of that mind into a bunch of jigsaw-puzzle-sized pieces and some will be Randian or Hayekian. Other pieces will go over here with the Burkean and Kirkian part of the picture.

The pieces fit together because they fit together in the conservative mind…

Poisons are determined by the dose. A little nationalism is healthy, a lot of nationalism is dangerous. A little social solidarity is moral, too much is immoral. When a conservative tempers his social conservatism with libertarianism or when a Libertarian tempers his utopian tendencies with an appreciation of tradition, it’s not called hypocrisy, it’s called wisdom.

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3 Responses to Hypocrisy or wisdom?

  1. Paul Marks says:

    Ayn Rand and Thomas Aquinas were both Aristotelians – not slavish followers of Aristotle but supporters fo certain key principles.

    These principles are…..

    That the universe is a real physical thing (not an illusion) – and it is governed by laws, that can be studied.

    That human beings are just that BEINGS – i.,e. agents that have the capacity for CHOICE (real choice). If we make a real effort to get over the attempted manipulations that are celebrated in leftist books such as “Nudge” and….

    And that good and evil (right and wrong) are not just names for human preferences – they really exist and are OBJECTIVE (just as the other two things above are OBJECTIVE).

    As for being a social conservative and a libertarian being incompatible….W

    Well to name an example I know must about…..

    I am both a social conservative and a libertarian.

    Being a social conservative does NOT mean I want the state to violate the nonaggression principle.

    As Gladstone was fond of pointing out – of one thing I am certain, it is folly to look to the STATE for moral improvement.

    That does not mean there can be such thing as moral improvement – or that “moral” just means whatever someone wants it to mean.

  2. Though I like Goldberg, I don’t see mere moderation as wisdom per se. Rather, I think it resides simply in paying attention to the context of reality.

    Inasmuch as either the Christian or the Objectivist is willing to apply the laws of logic to a realistic anthropology, they are leaps ahead of the collectivist that appeals to the gut or relies on the threat of force.

    Now as for a model of man, I find Genesis much more instructive that Nietzsche.

    • Paul Marks says:

      Nietzsche has moments of insight (such as the praise he gives to the concept of Athena) – but mostly the view of J.K.Chesterton is correct. Nietzsche is just “not all there”.

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