There’s light at the end of Arthur Herman’s cave, but you have to squint past Ayn Rand and some dubious claims and insinuations about the virtue of selfishness, the inevitability of economic chaos, and the necessity of militaristic aggression in the name of freedom to spot it. It’s the recognition that our stroll with Plato and Aristotle goes on, that we’ll glean insight and wisdom from the empiricist and rationalist traditions so long as we continue to walk and talk with them both. It’s the light of mental breadth, pluralist inclusion, and civil conversation.
But a big question remains. Are free markets our last best hope as a civilization, or the biggest obstacle to its survival? Herman does not finally resolve that question to my satisfaction, so we’ll be putting it to Naomi Klein in Environmental Ethics starting in about three weeks. Her claim:
“…our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life… But because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. Gentle tweaks to the status quo stopped being a climate option when we supersized the American Dream in the 1990s, and then proceeded to take it global.” Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate
It all comes down, once again, to securing the conditions of freedom. One of them is gender equality and opportunity. I hope every mother, father, and brother is as cheered this morning as I am to have seen that glass ceiling shatter for our daughters in Philadelphia last night. Light, more light!
6:20/5:52, 74/90/72, 7:55
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