In discussing the ethics of Luther and Machiavelli, and how they represent a decisive turn towards modernity, MacIntyre notes the ascendance of the Individual, “defined as against the God who creates him and as against the political and economic order to which he is subordinated”.  He quotes J.N. Figgis as connecting this with the rise of the idea of an Absolute State.  MacIntyre continues: “The state becomes distinct from society; in the Middle Ages social ties and political ties have a unity, just as they did for the Greeks…A man is related to the state not via a web of social relations binding superiors and inferiors in all sorts of ways, but just as subject.  A man is related to the economic order not via a well-defined status in a set of linked associations and guilds, but just as one who has the legal power to make contracts”.

This was a bit of a revelation to me, given my (mostly failed) attempts to understand modern political disagreements.  In particular, and a bit ironically, I have found that my “conservative” friends are committed very strongly, if implicitly, to the more modern conception.  They think of the government not as a part of the *society* in which we are all a part, ideally arranged for the common good, but as the *state*, which exists to enforce certain rules which can limit individual liberty only given strong justification.  For example, in discussing social welfare policies, my gut reaction is to treat the question like this: Would it be good for us, as a society, to collectively contribute to the social and economic welfare of those worst off?  But for many of my “conservative” friends, the main question is this: Does the State have a Right to take my money to give it to someone else? 

If MacIntyre is right (and I’m fairly convinced he is), these differences are symptoms of much deeper disagreements about human nature and the nature of its good…

Politics/Philosophy students wanted!

Hey guys! I am currently working on a essay for my global justice course, and I am writing about the right of unborn fetus. 

I am really hoping to have a conversation with fellow politics or philosophy students and get some inspiration. In return, we can also talk about your essay!

We can also make this as a study group or discussion group on different political or philosophical issues if you want.

Just reblog this or send me a message if you are interested! It’s okay even if you are not a politics/philosophy student. Feel free to join if you are genuinely interested in political or philosophical issues!