In his Reflections on the Revolution in France , the Irish Whig and parliamentarian Edmund Burke — warned against revolutions and their utopian schemes for human perfectibility. Writing in , he predicted the French Revolutionary Terror of three years later:. In the groves of [the] academy [of this new conquering empire of light and reason], at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows; Burke, WS III: His prediction is based on his view that when compliance no longer flows from customary allegiances, the result is naked force WS VIII: As Steiner comments,.
When Burke reflected and published, the French Revolution was in its Arcadian phase [and] his bloodstained previsions seemed nearly hysterical…Retroactively… his sombre clairvoyance took on formidable weight. Steiner 3; see Lock Vol. Its British friends compared the French Revolution with the Glorious Revolution of ; for Burke, it reprised , when Parliament was purged and the king executed.
Burke argued that revolutionaries impose theory on political practice, when they should rather derive theory from it. In a speech of , he held it preposterous. Steiner 3. As Pocock writes,. But to reiterate, Burke advocated organic and restorative reform, not reaction:. The Reflections argue that the ancien regime could have been restored to its pre-corrupt state; summoning the Estates General for May was an opportunity for enlightened reform of the monarchy, hijacked by enthusiastic atheists and deists WS VIII: —6.
Burke had a Whig belief in limited government. Burke differs from liberal tradition not in rejecting rights as such, but in his conception of them Lock — He rejected a constitution or bill of rights that does not simply express existing practice. For him, the only reliable liberty comes through descent, justified. By a constitutional policy, working after the pattern of nature, we receive, we hold, we transmit our government and our privileges, [just as] we enjoy and transmit our property and our lives.
Burke mistrusted appeals beyond positive law, but his writings on India allow, in its absence, an appeal to natural law though not natural right. The Hobbesian conception of Reflections treats natural rights as pre-social, and incompatible with society. For Burke, liberty is precarious; to say that it is assured by providential order, and has an inevitable progress, is the kind of metaphysical principle he abhorred Himmelfarb —7. Burke misrepresents the social contract of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau as a rather temporary expedient,.
Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world… Burke, WS III: For Scruton , liberals tend to make present members of society dominance over those who went before, and those who come after; some conservative commentators fear that the cross-generational contract is now being broken by. Ferguson Burke was a Christian thinker whose conservatism has been traced to his theological presuppositions Harris ; Cobban 94 ; he saw atheistic Jacobinism as a threat to Western cultural tradition.
Many conservative writers share his religious interpretation of the contract across the generations.
For Kirk 7 , established religion is among the traditions that conservatives value. But religious belief is not essential to conservatism, and Oakeshott was a secular conservative Cowling, xv. But they caused a stormy reaction from radicals. The parliament or the people of …had no more right to dispose of the people of the present day…. Paine Your imagination would have taken fire. Wollstonecraft In his later career, liberals believed, Burke showed himself a prisoner of the feudal and landed conception of society.
For most of his career, he was regarded as a moderate reforming Whig, campaigning against the corruption and brutality of the East India Company. Only at the end did he become the Tory scourge of Revolution. Indeed, Reflections is liberal compared to Letters on a Regicide Peace five years later, which demanded a war abroad and repression at home to extirpate revolutionary infection.
The 19 th century regarded him as a liberal, treating his later career as an aberration—an interpretation reversed in the 20 th century. Marx scathingly dismissed Burke as an opportunist:. The sycophant—who in the pay of the English oligarchy played the romantic…against the French Revolution just as, in the pay of the North American colonies…he had played the liberal against the English oligarchy—was an out-and-out vulgar bourgeois.
Burke, l. Churchill 40—like Burke, he changed party and so may have identified with him. Was he anti-reason, or just against abstract reason? Did he supplant individual with collective reason? A subtler view is that for him, individual reason cannot discern fully how social and political institutions work; it cannot see the entire process of communal adaptation, or understand by itself the principles on which it is based. As Hampsher-Monk puts it, institutions result from trial and error, embodying accumulated historical experience in institutional reason—like precedent within Common Law, which Burke had studied.
The British and American common law system is evolutionary, not abstract like Roman and Napoleonic coded law. Judgment according to precedent, unlike a priori codified law, is better able to anticipate new circumstances. Burke [credited] educated prejudice as an antidote to its bigoted forms. This did not entail a renunciation of reason, but a suspicion of its inordinate pretensions.
Bourke, in Dwan and Insole Scruton echoes Burke when he argues that beliefs that appear to be examples of prejudice may be useful and important; the attempt to justify them will merely lead to their loss. One might show prejudice as irrational, but there will be a loss if it is discarded Scruton We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason…the stock in each man is small, and…individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and of ages…. Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision sceptical, puzzled, and unresolved.
Rejecting the dominant individualist cognitive tradition in Western epistemology, Burke regards political reason as historically accumulated in developed social institutions—including an unwritten constitution, practices of representation, and dispositions notably of compromise. According to Himmelfarb, there is for Burke good reason—reason itself—to praise prejudice, which exists on a continuum with theoretical reason Himmelfarb b.
However, Hampsher-Monk argues that. For Hume and Burke this is a customary framework; for religious thinkers such as Cardinal Newman it is fideistic, appealing to the extra-rational authority of religious doctrine. Prejudice is normative; the inability to subsume particular actions under a universal law does not imply radical relativism Vannatta For the classical liberal, in contrast, reason precisely does not operate within customary frameworks.
Burkean conservatism influenced Continental European traditions, but these also had a separate development. De Tocqueville —59 was probably the most Burkean among 19 th century Continental conservatives in his condemnation of the French Revolution:.
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Our revolutionaries had the same fondness for broad generalisations, cut-and-dried legislative systems, and a pedantic symmetry; the same contempt for hard facts; the same taste for reshaping institutions on novel, ingenious, original lines…[for reconstructing] the entire system instead of trying to rectify its faulty parts.
Though Beiser argues that they arrived at their position independently. The historians von Savigny — and von Ranke — assumed a Burkean organic development of societies. To reiterate, reaction is not Burkean conservatism, however. De Maistre — was a reactionary critic of reason, intellectuals and universal rights.
In an alternative tradition to Burkean conservatism, Continental conservatives have subscribed to Thomist or Hegelian traditions, resulting in rational or systematic conservatism—which might include reactionary forms. John Gray argues that. Conservatives have sometimes disdained theoretical reflection on political life, implying that political knowledge is…best left inarticulate, uncorrupted by rationalist systematising.
The [19 th and 20 th ] centuries are nevertheless replete with conservative thought…as systematic and reflective as any found in the liberal tradition. Gray 78—9. Rational conservatives are, who maintain that a community with a hierarchy of authority is most conducive to human well-being—though they also regard agent-relative virtues such as loyalty and patriotism as fundamental, holding that it is universally true that patriotism is a virtue. This is clearly the standpoint of authority rather than the standpoint of freedom see 1.
Hegel — is a key figure in the understanding of rational conservatism. Surprisingly for a standpoint that stresses the value of experience, conservatism—Hume excepted—has been associated more with Idealism than with empiricism; philosophical empiricists have commonly been radicals. Hegel has been claimed for conservatism, but his political affiliation has been disputed since his earliest disciples. For them, Geist did not invoke a transcendent power, as some Right Hegelians maintained, but was an anthropological and historical process of emancipation, propelled by contradiction and struggle.
In the 20 th century, Hegel was regarded alternatively as a proto-totalitarian reactionary, a conservative, or a liberal. Hegel was ambivalent towards the French Revolution, the world-historical event against which his generation thought out their political philosophy and stance towards the Enlightenment Taylor Hegel Hegel — Some writers thus claim Hegel for liberalism rather than conservatism, regarding his philosophy as. Franco 3. The contemporary consensus sees Hegel as attempting to synthesise liberalism and conservatism. For Cristi, his rapprochement is not an eclectic blend of liberal and conservative strands of thought, but a systematic synthesis:.
Cristi —20, While Hegel does not appeal to non-human natural law or providential order, he attempts to reconcile human reason with historical laws and institutions:. For Hegel, unlike Burke, the political order must ultimately be justified to human reason, although not in the individualistic manner that typifies Enlightenment rationalism. Franco The Idea of the state unites its divine character with the Rousseauean view that it is the product of human will and rationality Franco The essence of the modern state is that the universal should be linked with the complete freedom of particularity and the well-being of individuals…the personal knowledge and volition of the particular individuals who must retain their rights…Only when both moments are present in full measure can the state be regarded as…truly organised.
Hegel argues that in morality and politics, we judge for ourselves, but not by ourselves. We come to recognise rational norms historically, as actualised; we always reason in terms of the norms of our society, which we must nonetheless endorse only reflectively. But for Skorupski, Hegel holds that free thought or natural reason must be mediated by entrenched institutions of intellectual and spiritual authority: for Aquinas, the Church, for Hegel, a tradition of communal ethical life.
The right and the moral must have the ethical as their support and foundation, for the right lacks…subjectivity, while morality in turn possesses this [alone]. Hegel accepts that an ethical life is historically contingent, even arbitrary, in content, yet insists on its essential role in every society, and its need to develop organically. For him, some kinds of Sittlichkeit are more advanced than others; at any one time, a more advanced society drives world history forward by realising it in its institutions, customs, culture new ideas. This position goes beyond the minimal rationality and universality of conservatism, which makes no reference to historical advance.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is the thinker chiefly responsible for introducing German Idealism to English-speaking readers, though in the person of Kant rather than Hegel. He declared that. Coleridge Coleridge argued for a national Church exercising spiritual, moral and cultural leadership, maintaining schools in conjunction with the state. CW : The work of major Victorian thinker and writer Thomas Carlyle — bears a complex relationship with conservatism; in his later career he was a reactionary.
Conservatism does not rest on a defence of a landed nobility, monarchy and established church, so even though the United States lacks these, an American conservatism is possible. Thus Gray argues that right-wing thought in the USA is almost exclusively neo-conservative and libertarian, with a. But it is probably true that Burkean conservatism has not produced thinkers in North America of the depth of its leading British representatives, Burke himself, Coleridge and Oakeshott.
Henry Sidgwick — arguably belongs in the ranks of modern conservatives. When all relevant facts are taken into consideration [he holds] it will scarcely ever be right on Utilitarian grounds for a Utilitarian openly to break or to recommend others to break the rules of morality commonly accepted in his society. Broad ; see also Collini Hayward notes, with exasperation, that rather than insisting. Hayward in Schultz ed. An important issue that connects the conservatism of Hume, Burke, Sidgwick is what people have reason to expect over time.
Suppose one holds that justice requires X , but that people have long been doing Y , which is incompatible with X , and have entered into life-plans that assume that X is how things are. If one tries to make society more just by preventing people doing Y , that in itself is an unjust action. But in our actual imperfect world. Every reform of an imperfect practice or institution is likely to be unfair to someone …To change the rules in the middle of the game, even when those rules were not altogether fair, will disappoint the honest expectations of those whose prior commitments and life plans were made in genuine reliance on the…old rules.
The propriety of changing the rules in a given case depends upon inter alia the degree of unfairness of the old rules and the extent and degree of the reliance placed upon them…we must weigh quite legitimate incompatible claims against each other in circumstances such that whichever judgment is reached it will be unfair to someone or other Feinberg Michael Oakeshott —90 was the last major exponent of the Idealist tradition, which enjoyed a period of eminence in Anglophone philosophy in the later 19 th and early 20 th century.
He has been regarded as a liberal Franco , while others claim him for the afore-mentioned maverick right Anderson 7. But Oakeshott is generally regarded as the most important modern conservative. Oakeshott He contrasted a state that has an economy, with a state effectively reduced to an economy, and bemoaned the domination of politics by the pursuit of economic growth as opposed to the good life. For Oakeshott, human knowledge is not the mother of practice, but only its stepchild…an exfoliation from [practices] that we have inherited…When we theorise our practices, we are discerning coherences within them, not imposing form without any set of abstract principles.
Gray , Other Internet Resources. In his book of essays Rationalism in Politics , Oakeshott is concerned with how the rationalist conception of knowledge has operated to the detriment of practice. This conception of knowledge holds that all genuine knowledge can be expressed entirely in propositional terms, in a theoretical system, or a set of rules or maxims. Oakeshott holds that in the modern world, the resulting instrumental rationality has penetrated inappropriate areas such as law, education and the arts—his thought thus interestingly parallels that of Critical Theorists such as Adorno, and also Heidegger.
Means-end thinking concerning the state is particularly inappropriate, as we have no choice but to belong to it, Oakeshott maintains. Politics is not the science of setting up a permanently impregnable society, it is the art of knowing where to go next in the exploration of an already existing traditional kind of society. Ideologists make everything political, but politics is only a part of human life, he holds.
For Oakeshott, civil associations, are fundamental to modern, free democracies, and opposed to the modern interventionist state. Enterprise associations, in contrast, are defined by a common purpose; society is not one of them.
Politics, for Oakeshott, belongs to the mode of practice, along with religion and morality; the two other modes are science and history. We again see that conservatism, although a practical standpoint that appeals to experience, does not rest on philosophical empiricism. Oakeshott is a Burkean particularist sceptic, for whom politics concerns people developing ways of living together in light of their history and traditions, not driven by universal extrinsic goals such as equality or elimination of poverty:. In political activity…men sail a boundless and bottomless sea: there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.
The enterprise is to keep afloat on an even keel… When the mechanic has to mend a watch, he lets the wheels run out, but the living watchworks of the state have to be repaired while they act, and a wheel has to be exchanged for another during its revolutions. Aesthetic Education , Letter 3.
However, Gamble adds, that disposition gains substance from its connection with national ways of life and traditions:. For Oakeshott, the past conceived in this way is intensely liberating because it is a repository of a wealth of practical knowledge, which is needed to live the good life.
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Gamble For him, conversation is the model of education. In a position reminiscent of J. Unlike many non-Millian liberals, however, Oakeshott does not base his requirement of limited government in an abstract theory of human nature, and abstract rights. Other notable 20 th century conservative thinkers include historian Maurice Cowling and philosopher Anthony Quinton. Probably the leading living thinker is Roger Scruton, who bases conservatism on three concepts: authority, allegiance and tradition Scruton He rejects post-Hobbesian contractualism, which presupposes.
It is only somewhat Hegelian, because for Burkean conservatives, history lacks the moral or spiritual direction that Hegel discerned; there is no moral or spiritual progress, and people think collectively toward a common goal only during a crisis such as war. As we saw, established power that originates in revolution poses a problem for conservatism. Non-relativistic conservatives 1.
Relativistic conservatives, in contrast, might accept these systems. On his view, tradition is inescapable, and societies rather rigid. True conservatism is a decidedly English doctrine with little appeal…in other countries [because] only English and hence British institutions have ever been decent enough to allow a decent [person] to be conservative. Graham —9. As conservatives such as Burke supported the Revolution, so they should support the non-violent uprisings of MacIntyre, We saw that Burke regarded tradition and individual reason as contradictory principles, but may have endorsed a notion of collective reason Beveridge and Turnbull Conservatives would reply that Burke does stress the importance of incremental change, while Oakeshott, like MacIntyre, has an interrogative attitude to tradition.
Moreover, the communitarian opposition to liberal values is limited, and does not extend to advocacy of religious intolerance and homogeneity or patriarchal authority see Taylor ; Waldron —though neither does the anti-liberalism of Burkean conservatives. A further consideration is that traditional methods may not always yield the most practical responses Scott Millian liberalism is less subject to the conservative charge of rationalism.
As Gamble puts it,. Oakeshott rejects the universal claims of liberalism, because he is only interested in claims that are grounded in English political experience. Bentham and—on some views—Burke seem to conceive only of legal rights; but if one can make sense of moral obligation, one can make sense of abstract rights. Some writers on the left find value in conservatism. Minogue holds that. As Kant wrote,. But as they are ought to read as we have made them by unjust coercion, by treacherous designs which the government is in a good position to carry out.
Kant Neiman —9. Men make their own history, but [not] under circumstances chosen by themselves…The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. Marx While Lenin aimed to impose a socialist blueprint through a vanguard party of specialists, for his Marxist critics Luxemburg and Kollontai, revolutionary tasks are unknowable in advance:.
Given the uncertainty of the endeavour, a plurality of experiments and initiatives will best reveal which lines of attack are fruitful…[and produce] a creative, conscious…and empowered working class. Scott —9. Lord Hugh Cecil postulates within modern conservatism what he calls innate conservatism: a psychological characteristic found in all people to some degree Cecil For C. D Broad, it has two sides:. The more worthy side [rational scepticism] [says] that social problems are so very complex that there is always a strong probability that some factor has been overlooked in any scheme of change…The less respectable side [mental inertia] is the dislike of novelty as such.
Rational scepticism, as a motive for rejecting a scheme that offers to remove admitted evils, involves two applications of probability. The first is…that social affairs are so complex that it is very improbable that all the effects of a given social change have been foreseen. But…we must have some ground for judging further that the unforeseen effects are more likely to be bad than good…this judgment cannot rest on the known nature of the effects of this particular measure [but only] on some general proposition, such as: It is more probable that the unforeseen effects of any social change will be bad than that they will be good.
Broad Broad is alluding to the fact that every philosophical standpoint must confront the problem of how to treat its own defining claims, by its own lights. Conservatism seems unduly pessimistic about the possibility of individual, explicit knowledge of society, therefore. There are some things about society that we can come to know—and government economic policy, for instance, seems justifiably dedicated to finding them out. Conservatives must concede that radical change is sometimes acceptable; some major changes, for instance votes for women, are good.
These must be prepared for—as they were in Britain in , compared with, say, —and preparing for change makes it less radical. What conservatives will insist is it that revolutionary change is unacceptable. Especially since the advent of green politics, there have been conservatives advocates for ecological conservation. A less noticed parallel is that between the opposition of cultural conservation and modernism, and that of conservatism and revolutionary Jacobinism Cohen , Other Internet Resources.
Conservatives would criticise both developments. Leading modernist poet T. Eliot — was also an important conservative thinker, and so occupies an ambivalent position. In contrast, the classical repertoire of Western art music is open and flexible, operating—when circumstances are propitious—as a living presence in contemporary culture. His expertise is in national development, regional security, international relations, and the global political economy.
Ethics, politics, and democracy : from primordial principles to prospective practices. This volume examines continuities and change in the normative underpinnings of both ancient and modern practices of political governance, public duties, private virtues, and personal rights and responsibilities. Legislators in the House and Senate, for example, voted in the late s and early s to deregulate the airline and trucking industries, a move they thought would benefit the public.
They did so against strong lobbying by both the unions and the industries, which had close relations with the regulatory commissions. Political scientists now also noticed that citizens took stands on issues like Vietnam and busing less because the policy they favored would benefit them than because they thought that policy was right.
In small towns the concern of citizens for the common good was, if anything, even stronger. My own study of a small New England town and a collectively-run workplace convinced me that the implicit theory of democracy in these small polities differed sharply from Schumpeter's marketplace model.
Schumpeter handled conflict, in theory, by counting and weighing preferences. The members of the communities I came to know assumed that on many issues there was a common good and that reasoning together -- deliberation -- could let them discover or create that good. When recent democratic theorists reject the conception of democracy as only a mechanism for aggregating conflicting and self-interested preferences, they draw on several independent philosophical traditions.
Pocock and Garry Wills have demonstrated that the framers of the American Constitution, far from reflecting only Lockean individualism, wanted to promote both public spirit and benevolence. Pocock traces the concern for public spirit to Machiavelli's writing on the corruption of republican virtue in Florence; Wills traces the concern for benevolence to the Scottish Enlightenment. Cass Sunstein argues that the United States Supreme Court has never countenanced a theory of democracy based purely on aggregating preferences.
Although the Court will generally not look beneath the rationale that legislators present, it has always insisted in principle that legislation be guided by a public interest. Jurgen Habermas, writing on public spaces and the characteristics of an ideal "speech situation," has inspired many to ask what institutions and structures of power are most hospitable to public deliberation.
The new deliberative theorists have suggested various institutional changes to renew the democratic process. The quality of deliberation makes or breaks a democracy. Good deliberation produces, along with good solutions, the emotional and intellectual resources to accept hard decisions. Active participation in decisions makes it easier to bear -- and understand the reasons for -- the losses some decisions entail.
The manipulation of participation generates cynicism both in the factory and the polity. Deliberation that accords respect to all participants and rests outcomes on reasons and points of view that stand up under questioning generates outcomes that even opponents can respect. Theorists who promote deliberation, however, sometimes conflate deliberation and the common good.
The language not only of Mill and Barker but also of more recent theorists like Benjamin Barber and Joshua Cohen suggests that deliberation must be deliberation on the common good. Deliberation, in this view, must be framed in terms of "we"; claims of self-interest are invalid.
Yet ruling self-interest out of order makes it harder for any participant to sort out what is going on. In particular, the less powerful may not find ways to discover that the prevailing sense of "we" does not adequately include them. Deliberation, and the political process more broadly speaking, ought to make participants more aware of their real interests, even when those interests turn out to conflict. Deliberative theorists also sometimes forget power. When, as often happens, no policy will benefit everyone, democracies require some way of legitimating a process by which one group of people makes another do something that it does not want to do.
To avoid giving too much weight to the status quo, democracies must facilitate some exercise of power. They can legitimate the coercion by, in theory, giving each citizen equal power in the process. The system succeeds where each loses on some issues but wins on others. Feminism, in both its nurturant and anti-oppression strands, can correct the vision of both the unrealistically "hard-nosed" political scientists who insist that politics is nothing but power and the deliberative theorists who either reject power altogether or overlook the ways the powerful often use to their advantage the openness of deliberation, its procedures, and the orientation of many participants toward the common good.
Politics without domination is an ideal with a long ancestry on both its paternal and maternal sides. Claude Henri de Saint-Simon, an early prophet of socialism, and Edward Bellamy, the nineteenth-century American utopian, both wanted to replace the government of men by the administration of things. Karl Marx envisioned the withering away of "political power properly so called," that is, class domination.
John Stuart Mill and Ernest Barker replaced crude power not with administration but with deliberation. Yet when women arrived at their own understanding of politics without domination, their language often carried overtones of their experiences as mothers. The outcome was not quite the same. Nurturance -- a particular form of making the other's good your own -- invaded the political sphere.
In , Hannah Mather Crocker, an early feminist, argued in almost the same breath that God had "endowed the female mind with equal powers and faculties" to those of men and that "it must be the appropriate duty and privilege of females, to convince by reason and persuasion. Strategically, the suffragists relied on persuasion because they had little political power. Yet many also believed that women would bring virtue into politics by extending the stance of motherhood to the public sphere, substituting persuasion for power, and replacing party politics with Progressive good government.
In Herland , a feminist utopian novel published six years before women won the suffrage, Charlotte Perkins Gilman painted a society peopled only by women, where domination had no place. Of the three men who stumble on this utopia, the most aggressive aches to fight, tries to "master" the women, and glorifies competition. The women return patient understanding, meting out no punishments and experiencing no competitive feeling stronger than "a mild triumph as of winning some simple game.
Without Gilman's explicit concern for nurturance, Mary Parker Follett, an organizational theorist writing a generation later, also argued against "domination" "a victory of one side over the other". She even opposed "compromise" "each side gives up a little in order to have peace" , in favor of "integration," which allows neither side "to sacrifice anything.
Instead, they opened the window in an unoccupied adjacent room. Yet it is easy in some feminist visions to mistake the corrective for the whole story, or to mistake the stress on nurturance or empathy for the conclusion that all of human relations can be encompassed in nurturance. It is also easy to confuse the normative claim that nurturant or attentive approaches to relationships are good in themselves or promote other values good in themselves with the empirical claim that women are more likely than men to adopt these approaches.
Whether or not women differ from men in nurturance or attentiveness, the moral claims should stand on their own. We should be able to find the language to make a persuasive case for any claim without appeal to gender. Yet because persuasion rests on experience and some experiences are more socially salient to women whether or not they have actually had the experience of, say, motherhood itself , the persuasive images that come most easily to women will not always strike a responsive chord in men.
Some claims will have to take shape within a community that shares the relevant experiences and later be "translated" for other audiences. As early as and , for example, in almost the same moment as discovering themselves as a "class," with separate and sometimes conflicting interests to those of men, women discovered they had a distinct and in some ways superior "culture. This project now finds allies among political theorists promoting deliberative democracy. Consider the "femaleness" of nurturance.
Some feminists have reacted to the prevailing definition of politics as only power, and power as only domination, by elaborating what Nancy Hartsock calls "the feminist theory of power. Arguing against the conjunction of power and powerlessness in the received understanding of motherhood, Ruddick stated as her project "the construction of an image of maternal power which is benign, accurate, sturdy and sane," suggesting that women bring to the public world a culture and tradition embodied in the ideal of "maternal thinking," with its characteristics of "humility, resilient good humor, realism, respect for persons, and responsiveness to growth.
She wants neither to wield power nor to defend herself against the power wielded by the child. Neither Ruddick, nor Ferguson, nor Held, nor any of the many theorists now writing in this vein are trying to replace a political vocabulary based on power with one based on care or intimacy. Their aim is to integrate into political thought a rich but neglected vocabulary and set of experiences-neglected because usually allocated to the domestic realm and defined as private, non-political, or even anti-political.
This project of integration requires some subtlety. It requires maintaining useful distinctions between the governmental and non-governmental, and between the particularism of one-to-one empathy and the universalism of solidarity with all humankind. The project does not require merging the public with the private. But it does require seeing relations formed in the private, domestic, and particular realm as reasonable models for, or the first steps toward, some forms of public spirit.
The step the ancient Greeks took in using "philia," or friendship, as "civic friendship," the basis of the state, does not differ in form from the suffragists' step, in "social motherhood," of applying the maternal relation to the larger polity. Taking motherhood seriously, for example, reveals the radical limitations of political theories based on a misplaced analogy to the marketplace. When Robert Nozick suggests that individuals have a primordial right to own and sell what they produce, Susan Okin replies that in that case mothers own and have a right to sell their children.
Mothers' relations with their children usefully undermine neoclassical models of independent individuals, rights, contracts, or owning and selling. Attentiveness to relationships is not the same as "nurturance. Thus in later relationships men may feel less intrinsically connected with others. Whether for this reason or for reasons derived from a history of subordination, girls and women in the United States do seem to value relationships more than do boys and men.
Girls' games, at least in white middle-class communities, take place in small, relatively homogeneous groups and deemphasize the rules and competition that characterize boys' games. Girls and women are better than men at interpreting facial expressions and other interpersonal cues. Women speak less in public than men do, and listen more. As Marlene Dixon put it in , "Women are trained to nuances, to listening for the subtle cues which carry the message hidden under the words. It is part of that special skill called 'intuition' or 'empathy' which all female children must learn if they are to be successful in manipulating others to get what they want and to be successful in providing sympathy and understanding to their husbands and lovers.
As early as the fifth century B. The skills of listening -- though not of silence -- do seem to produce better decisions. The laboratory experiments of social psychologists suggest that the best group decisions those most likely to produce a "correct" answer or a creative solution come when members solicit the opinions of individuals who are initially in a minority.