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Populismo, representação, redes sociais e conservadorismo

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 01.03.17

roger scruton.jpg


Roger Scruton, "Populism, VII: Representation & the people":


The fact remains, however, that the accusation of “populism” is applied now largely to politicians on the right, with the implication that they are mobilizing passions that are both widespread and dangerous. On the whole liberals believe that politicians on the left win elections because they are popular, while politicians on the right win elections because they are populist. Populism is a kind of cheating, deploying weapons that civilized people agree not to use and which, once used, entirely change the nature of the game, so that those of gentle and considerate leanings are at an insuperable disadvantage. The division between the popular and the populist corresponds to the deep division in human nature, between the reasonable interests that are engaged by politics, and the dark passions that threaten to leave negotiation, conciliation, and compromise behind. Like “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “Islamophobia,” “populism” is a crime laid at the door of conservatives. For the desire of conservatives to protect the inherited identity of the nation, and to stand against what they see as the real existential threats posed by mass migration, is seen by their opponents as fear and hatred of the Other, which is seen in turn as the root cause of inter-communal violence.




The phenomenon of the instant plebiscite—what one might call the “webiscite”—is therefore far more important than has yet been recognized. Nor does it serve the interests only of the Right in politics. Almost every day there pops up on my screen a petition from or urging me to experience the “one click” passport to moral virtue, bypassing all political processes and all representative institutions in order to add my vote to the cause of the day. Avaaz was and remains at the forefront of the groups opposing the “populism” of Donald Trump, warning against his apparent contempt for the procedures that would put brakes on his power. But in the instant politics of the webiscite such contradictions don’t matter. Consistency belongs with those checks and balances. Get over them, and get clicking instead.


It is not that the instant causes of the webiscites are wrong: without the kind of extensive debate that is the duty of a legislative assembly it is hard to decide on their merits. Nevertheless, we are constantly being encouraged to vote in the absence of any institution that will hold anyone to account for the decision. Nobody is asking us to think the matter through, or to raise the question of what other interests need to be considered, besides the one mentioned in the petition. Nobody in this process, neither the one who proposes the petition nor the many who sign it, has the responsibility of getting things right or runs the risk of being ejected from office if he fails to do so. The background conditions of representative government have simply been thought away, and all we have is the mass expression of opinion, without responsibility or risk. Not a single person who signs the petition, including those who compose it, will bear the full cost of it. For the cost is transferred to everyone, on behalf of whatever single-issue pressure group takes the benefit.


We are not creatures of the moment; we do not necessarily know what our own interests are, but depend upon advice and discussion. Hence we need processes that impede us from making impetuous choices; we need the filter that will bring us face to face with our real interests. It is precisely this that is being obscured by the emerging webiscite culture. Decisions are being made at the point of least responsibility, by the man or woman in the street with an iPhone, asked suddenly to click “yes” or “no” in response to an issue that they have never thought about before and may never think about again.


Reflect on these matters and you will come to see, I believe, that if “populism” threatens the political stability of democracies, it is because it is part of a wider failure to appreciate the virtue and the necessity of representation. For representative government to work, representatives must be free to ignore those who elected them, to consider each matter on its merits, and to address the interests of those who did not vote for them just as much as the interests of those who did. The point was made two centuries ago by Edmund Burke, that representation, unlike delegation, is an office, defined by its responsibilities. To refer every matter to the constituents and to act on majority opinion case by case is precisely to avoid those responsibilities, to retreat behind the consensus, and to cease to be genuinely accountable for what one does.

This brings me to the real question raised by the upheavals of 2016. In modern conditions, in which governments rarely enjoy a majority vote, most of us are living under a government of which we don’t approve. We accept to be ruled by laws and decisions made by politicians with whom we disagree, and whom we perhaps deeply dislike. How is that possible? Why don’t democracies constantly collapse, as people refuse to be governed by those they never voted for? Why do the protests of disenchanted voters crying “not my president!” peter out, and why has there been after all no mass exodus of liberals to Canada?


The answer is that democracies are held together by something stronger than politics. There is a “first person plural,” a pre-political loyalty, which causes neighbors who voted in opposing ways to treat each other as fellow citizens, for whom the government is not “mine” or “yours” but “ours,” whether or not we approve of it. Many are the flaws in this system of government, but one feature gives it an insuperable advantage over all others so far devised, which is that it makes those who exercise power accountable to those who did not vote for them. This kind of accountability is possible only if the electorate is bound together as a “we.” Only if this “we” is in place can the people trust the politicians to look after their interests. Trust enables people to cooperate in ensuring that the legislative process is reversible when it makes a mistake; it enables them to accept decisions that run counter to their individual desires and which express views of the nation and its future that they do not share. And it enables them to do this because they can look forward to an election in which they have a chance to rectify the damage.


That simple observation reminds us that representative democracy injects hesitation, circumspection, and accountability into the heart of government—qualities that play no part in the emotions of the crowd. Representative government is for this reason infinitely to be preferred to direct appeals to the people, whether by referendum, plebiscite, or webiscite. But the observation also reminds us that accountable politics depends on mutual trust. We must trust our political opponents to acknowledge that they have the duty to represent the people as a whole, and not merely to advance the agenda of their own political supporters.


But what happens when that trust disintegrates? In particular, what happens when the issues closest to people’s hearts are neither discussed nor mentioned by their representatives, and when these issues are precisely issues of identity—of “who we are” and “what unites us”? This, it seems to me, is where we have got to in Western democracies—in the United States just as much as in Europe. And recent events on both continents would be less surprising if the media and the politicians had woken up earlier to the fact that Western democracies—all of them without exception—are suffering from a crisis of identity. The “we” that is the foundation of trust and the sine qua non of representative government, has been jeopardized not only by the global economy and the rapid decline of indigenous ways of life, but also by the mass immigration of people with other languages, other customs, other religions, other ways of life, and other and competing loyalties. Worse than this is the fact that ordinary people have been forbidden to mention this, forbidden to complain about it publicly, forbidden even to begin the process of coming to terms with it by discussing what the costs and benefits might be.


Of course they have not been forbidden to discuss immigration in the way that Muslims are forbidden to discuss the origins of the Koran. Nor have they been forbidden by some express government decree. If they say the wrong things, they are not arrested and imprisoned—not yet, at least. They are silenced by labels—“racism,” “xenophobia,” “hate speech”—designed to associate them with the worst of recent crimes. In my experience, ordinary people wish to discuss mass immigration in order to prevent those crimes. But this idea is one that cannot be put in circulation, for the reason that the attempt to express it puts you beyond the pale of civilized discourse. Hillary Clinton made the point in her election campaign, with her notorious reference to the “deplorables”—in other words, the people who bear the costs of liberal policies and respond to them with predictable resentments.




ll this has left the conservative movement at an impasse. The leading virtue of conservative politics as I see it is the preference for procedure over ideological programs. Liberals tend to believe that government exists in order to lead the people into a better future, in which liberty, equality, social justice, the socialist millennium, or something of that kind will be realized. The same goal-directed politics has been attempted by the EU, which sees all governance as moving towards an “ever closer union,” in which borders, nations, and the antagonisms that allegedly grow from them will finally disappear. Conservatives believe that the role of government is not to lead society towards a goal but to ensure that, wherever society goes, it goes there peacefully. Government exists in order to conciliate opposing views, to manage conflicts, and to ensure peaceful transactions between the citizens, as they compete in the market, and associate in what Burke called their “little platoons.”


That conception of government is, to me, so obviously superior to all others that have entered the imperfect brains of political thinkers that I find myself irresistibly drawn to it. But it depends on a pre-political unity defined within recognized borders, and a sovereign territory that is recognizably “ours,” the place where “we” are, the home that we share with the strangers who are our “fellow countrymen.” All other ways of defining the “we” of human communities—whether through dynasty, tribe, religion, or the ruling Party—threaten the political process, since they make no room for opposition, and depend on conscripting the people to purposes that are not their own. But procedural politics of the conservative kind is possible only within the confines of a nation state—which is to say, a state defined over sovereign territory, whose citizens regard that territory as their legitimate home.


(também publicado aqui.)

publicado às 14:04

Multiculturalismo e imigração

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 12.02.17

Scruton - How to be a Conservative.jpg

 Roger Scruton, How to Be a Conservative (London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2014), 90-92:


Once we distinguish race and culture, the way is open to acknowledge that not all cultures are equally admirable, and that not all cultures can exist comfortably side by side. To deny this is to forgo the very possibility of moral judgement, and therefore to deny the fundamental experience of community. It is precisely this that has caused the multiculturalists to hesitate. It is culture, not nature, that tells a family that their daughter who has fallen in love outside the permitted circle must be killed, that girls must undergo genital mutilation if they are to be respectable, that the infidel must be destroyed when Allah commands it. You can read about those things and think they belong to the pre-history of our world. But when suddenly they are happening in your midst, you are apt to wake up to the truth about the culture that advocates them. You are apt to say, that is not our culture, and it has no business here. And you will probably be tempted to go one stage further, the stage that the Enlightenment naturally invites, and to say that it has no business anywhere.


For what is brought home to us, through painful experiences that we might have avoided had it been permitted before now to say the truth, is that we, like everyone else, depend upon a shared culture for our security, our prosperity and our freedom to be. We don’t require everyone to have the same faith, to lead the same kind of family life or to participate in the same festivals. But we have a shared civic culture, a shared language and a shared public sphere. Our societies are built upon the Judaeo-Christian ideal of neighbour-love, according to which strangers and intimates deserve equal concern. They require each of us to respect the freedom and sovereignty of every person, and to acknowledge the threshold of privacy beyond which it is a trespass to go unless invited. Our societies depend upon law-abidingness and open contracts, and they reinforce these things through the educational traditions that have shaped our common curriculum. It is not an arbitrary cultural imperialism that leads us to value Greek philosophy and literature, the Hebrew Bible, Roman law, and the medieval epics and romances and to teach these things in our schools. They are ours in just the way that the legal order and the political institutions are ours: they form part of what made us, and convey the message that it is right to be what we are. And reason endorses these things, and tells us that our civic culture is not just a parochial possession of inward-looking communities, but a justified way of life.


Over time, immigrants can come to share these things with us: the experience of America bears ample witness to this. And they more easily do so when they recognize that, in any meaningful sense of the word, our culture is also a multi-culture, incorporating elements absorbed in ancient times from all around the Mediterranean basin and in modern times from the adventures of European traders and explorers across the world. But this kaleidoscopic culture is still one thing, with a set of inviolable principles at its core; and it is the source of social cohesion across Europe and America. Our culture allows for a great range of ways of life; it enables people to privatize their religion and their family customs, while still belonging to the public realm of open dealings and shared allegiance. For it defines that public realm in legal and territorial terms, and not in terms of creed or kinship.


So what happens when people whose identity is fixed by creed or kinship immigrate into places settled by Western culture? The activists say that we must make room for them, and that we do this by relinquishing the space in which their culture can flourish. Our political class has at last recognized that this is a recipe for disaster, and that we can welcome immigrants only if we welcome them into our culture, and not beside or against it. But that means telling them to accept rules, customs and procedures that may be alien to their old way of life. Is this an injustice? I do not think that it is. If immigrants come it is because they gain by doing so. It is therefore reasonable to remind them that there is also a cost. Only now, however, is our political class prepared to say so, and to insist that cost be paid.


(também publicado aqui.)

publicado às 14:10

Comunismo e fascismo

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 11.06.16

roger scruton.jpg


Roger Scruton, Fools, Frauds and Firebrands:

It is testimony to the success of communist propaganda that it has been able to persuade so many people that fascism and communism are polar opposites and that there is a single scale of political ideology stretching from ‘far left’ to ‘far right’. Thus, while communism is on the far left, it is simply one further stage along a road that all intellectuals must go in order not to be contaminated by the true evil of our times, which is fascism.

It is perhaps easier for an English writer than it is for an Italian to see through that nonsense, and to perceive what it is designed to conceal: the deep structural similarity between communism and fascism, both as theory and as practice, and their common antagonism to parliamentary and constitutional forms of government. Even if we accept the – highly fortuitous – identification of National Socialism and Italian Fascism, to speak of either as the true political opposite of communism is to betray the most superficial understanding of modern history. In truth there is an opposite of all the ‘isms’, and that is negotiated politics, without an ‘ism’ and without a goal other than the peaceful coexistence of rivals.

Communism, like fascism, involved the attempt to create a mass popular movement and a state bound together under the rule of a single party, in which there will be total cohesion around a common goal. It involved the elimination of opposition, by whatever means, and the replacement of ordered dispute between parties by clandestine ‘discussion’ within the single ruling elite. It involved taking control – ‘in the name of the people’ – of the means of communication and education, and instilling a principle of command throughout the economy.

Both movements regarded law as optional and constitutional constraints as irrelevant – for both were essentially revolutionary, led from above by an ‘iron discipline’. Both aimed to achieve a new kind of social order, unmediated by institutions, displaying an immediate and fraternal cohesiveness. And in pursuit of this ideal association – called a fascio by nineteenth-century Italian socialists – each movement created a form of militar government, involving the total mobilization of the entire populace, which could no longer do even the most peaceful-seeming things except in a spirit of war, and with an officer in charge. This mobilization was put on comic display, in the great parades and festivals that the two ideologies created for their own glorification.

Of course there are diferences. Fascist governments have sometimes come to power by democratic election, whereas communist governments have always relied on a coup d’état. And the public ideology of communism is one of equality and emancipation, while that of fascism emphasizes distinction and triumph. But the two systems resemble each other in all other aspects, and not least in their public art, which displays the same kind of bombast and kitsch – the same attempt to change reality by shouting at the top of the voice.

It will be said that communism is perhaps like that in practice, but only because the practice has betrayed the theory. Of course, the same could be said of fascism; but it has been an important leftist strategy, and a major component of Soviet post-war propaganda, to contrast a purely theoretical communism with ‘actually existing’ fascism, in other words to contrast a promised heaven with a real hell. This does not merely help with the recruitment of supporters: it reinforces the habit of thinking in dichotomies, of representing every choice as an either/or, of inducing the thought that the issue is simply one of for or against.

publicado às 19:22

Do conservadorismo

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 07.09.15

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Roger Scruton, How to be a Conservative:

Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it. In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation slow, laborious and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century. It is also one reason why conservatives suffer such a disadvantage when it comes to public opinion. Their position is true but boring, that of their opponents exciting but false.

publicado às 23:16

Programa para hoje

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 11.03.14

publicado às 10:47

Ainda a respeito da co-adopção por homossexuais

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 21.05.13

Deixo um artigo de Roger Scruton, "This 'right' for gays is an injustice to children" (negritos meus):


«Western societies have, in recent decades, undergone a radical change in their attitudes to homosexuality. What was once regarded as an intolerable vice is now regarded as an "orientation", no different in kind, though different in direction, from the inclinations that lead men to unite with women, and children to be born. This radical change began with the decriminalisation of homosexual conduct, and with a growing readiness not just to tolerate homosexuality in private, but to talk about it in public. We saw the emergence of the "public homosexual", the flamboyant propagandist for that "other" way of life who, like Quentin Crisp, tried to persuade us that "gay" is after all the right description. There followed the movement for "gay pride" and the "coming out" of public figures —to the point where it is no longer very interesting to know whether someone is or is not of the other persuasion.


For the most part, the people of this country have gone along with the changes. They may not be comfortable with its more demonstrative expressions, but they are prepared to tolerate the homosexual way of life, provided it keeps within the bounds of decency, and does no violence to fundamental norms. However, this attitude does not satisfy the activists. For to tolerate is to disapprove. It is only when conduct offends you that you need to exercise your toleration, and the activists want people to treat homosexuality as normal. Through the slippery notions of discrimination and human rights, they have used the law to advance their agenda. Homosexuality is now treated by the law as a tendency comparable in almost every way to heterosexuality, so that any attempt to distinguish between people on grounds of their "orientation" — whether as applicants for a job, or as recipients of a privilege — is regarded as unjust "discrimination", comparable in its moral heinousness to discrimination on grounds of race or sex.


On the whole we have accepted that laws against discrimination might be needed, in order to protect those who have suffered in the past from hostile prejudice. Every now and then, however, we wake up to the fact that, although homosexuality has been normalised, it is not normal. Our acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, of same-sex couples, and of the gay scene has not eliminated our sense that these are alternatives to something, and that it is the other thing that is normal. This other thing is not heterosexual desire, conceived as an "orientation". It is heterosexual union: the joining of man and woman, in an act which leads in the natural course of things not just to mutual commitment but to the bearing of children, the raising of a family and the self-sacrificing habits on which, when all is said and done, the future of society depends. The propaganda that has tried to rewrite heterosexuality as an "orientation" is really an attempt to persuade us to overlook the real truth about sexual union, which is that it is, in its normal form, the way in which one generation gives way to the next.


This truth is recognised by all the great religions, and is endorsed in the Christian view of marriage as a union created by God. This explains, to a great extent, the reluctance of religious people to endorse gay marriage, which they see as an attempt to rewrite in merely human terms the eternal contract of society. To put it in another way, they see gay marriage as the desecration of a sacrament. Hence the growing conflict between the gay agenda and traditional religion, of which the current dispute over "adoption rights" is the latest sign. According to the Christian perspective — and it is one that is shared, I believe, by Muslims and Jews – adoption means receiving a child as a member of the family, as one to whom you are committed in the way that a father and mother are committed to children of their own. It is an act of sacrifice, performed for the benefit of the child, and with a view to providing that child with the normal comforts of home. Its purpose is not to gratify the parents, but to foster the child, by making him part of a family. For religious people that means providing the child with a father and a mother. Anything else would be an injustice to the child and an abuse of his innocence. Hence there are no such things as "adoption rights". Adoption is the assumption of a duty, and the only rights involved are the rights of the child.


Against that argument the appeal to "anti-discrimination" laws is surely irrelevant. The purpose of adoption is not to gratify the foster parents but to help the child. And since, on the religious view, the only help that can be offered is the provision of a real family, it is no more an act of discrimination to exclude gay couples than it is to exclude incestuous liaisons or communes of promiscuous "swingers". Indeed, the implication that adoption is entirely a matter of the "rights" of the prospective parents shows the moral inversion that is infecting modern society. Instead of regarding the family as the present generation's way of sacrificing itself for the next, we are being asked to create families in which the next generation is sacrificed for the pleasure of the present one. We are being asked to overlook all that we know about the fragility of homosexual partnerships, about the psychological needs of children, and about the norms that still prevail in our schools and communities, for the sake of an ideological fantasy.


To oppose homosexual adoption is not to believe that homosexuals should have no dealings with children. From Plato to Britten, homosexuals have distinguished themselves as teachers, often sublimating their erotic feelings as those two great men did, through nurturing the minds and souls of the young. But it was Plato who, in The Laws, pointed out that homosexuals, like heterosexuals, must learn the way of sacrifice, that it is not present desires that should govern them, but the long-term interests of the community. And it is surely not implausible to think that those long-term interests are more likely to be protected by religion than by the political ideologies that govern the Labour Party.»

publicado às 14:19


Roger Scruton, "Identity, family, marriage: our core conservative values have been betrayed":


«Burke was a great writer, a profound thinker and a high-ranking political practitioner, with a keen sense both of the damage done by the wrong ideas, and the real need for the right ones. Political wisdom, Burke argued, is not contained in a single head. It does not reside in the plans and schemes of the political class, and can never be reduced to a system. It resides in the social organism as a whole, in the myriad small compromises, in the local negotiations and trusts, through which people adjust to the presence of their neighbours and co-operate in safeguarding what they share. People must be free to associate, to form "little platoons", to dispose of their labour, their property and their affections, according to their own desires and needs.


But no freedom is absolute, and all must be qualified for the common good. Until subject to a rule of law, freedom is merely "the dust and powder of individuality". But a rule of law requires a shared allegiance, by which people entrust their collective destiny to sovereign institutions that can speak and decide in their name. This shared allegiance is not, as Rousseau and others argued, a contract among the living. It is a partnership between the living, the unborn and the dead – a continuous trust that no generation can pillage for its own advantage.




Our situation today mirrors that faced by Burke. Now, as then, abstract ideas and utopian schemes threaten to displace practical wisdom from the political process. Instead of the common law of England we have the abstract idea of human rights, slapped upon us by European courts whose judges care nothing for our unique social fabric. Instead of our inherited freedoms we have laws forbidding "hate speech" and discrimination that can be used to control what we say and what we do in ever more intrusive ways. The primary institutions of civil society – marriage and the family – have no clear endorsement from our new political class. Most importantly, our parliament has, without consulting the people, handed over sovereignty to Europe, thereby losing control of our borders and our collective assets, the welfare state included.»

publicado às 17:15

Röpke e a Economia Humana

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 24.03.13

Roger Scruton, "The Journey Home - Wilhelm Röpke & the Humane Economy":


«The Eurocrats tolds us, when John Major weakly agreed to the Maastricht Treaty, that it was all OK, that national sovereignty would not be sacrificed, that the principle of subsidiarity applied, and that all decisions pertaining to the nation and its specific interests would be taken at the national level, by elected Parliaments. But then comes the catch: it is the European Commission, not the national parliament, which decides that a given issue pertains to the specific interests of a given nation state. National sovereignty is therefore delegated from above, by an unelected Commission which is in the hands of its permanent staff of bureaucrats rather than in those of the sheepish politicians who have been shunted there from parliaments where they are no longer wanted. The principle of ‘subsidiarity,’ which purports to grant powers to local and national bodies, in fact takes them away, ensuring that powers that were once exercised by right are now exercised on sufferance. ‘Subsidiarity’ confiscates sovereignty in the same way that ‘social justice’ confiscates justice, and the ‘social market’ confiscates the market.

So what is the alternative? What was Röpke getting at, and how should we respond to the problems that he wished to address—the problems of social fragmentation and the loss of community feeling, in a world where the market is left to itself? There are those—Milton Friedman, for example, or Murray Rothbard—who have powerfully argued that a genuinely free market will ensure the good government of human communities, through the self-restraining impulse that comes naturally to us. But their arguments, however sophisticated, are addressed to Americans, who live among abundant resources, free from external threat, surrounded by opportunities and in communities where the volunteer spirit survives. And they do not confront the central question, which is how communities renew themselves, and how fundamental flaws in the human constitution, such as resentment, envy and sexual predation, are to be overcome by something so abstract and neutral as consumer sovereignty and free economic choice.

Röpke’s own idea, if I understand him rightly, was that society is nurtured and perpetuated at the local level, through motives that are quite distinct from the pursuit of rational self interest. There is the motive of charitable giving, the motives of love and friendship, and the motive of piety. All these grow naturally, and cause us to provide for each other and to shape our environment into a common home. The true oikos is not a cell shut off from the world, in which a solitary individualist enjoys his sovereignty as a consumer. The true oikos is a place of charity and gift, of love, affection and prayer. Its doors are open to the neighbours, with whom its occupants join in acts of worship, in festivals and ceremonies, in weddings and funerals. Its occupants are not consumers, except obliquely, and by way of replenishing their supplies. They are members of society, and membership is a mutual relation, which cannot be captured in terms of the ‘enlightened self interest’ that is the subject matter of economic theory. For extreme individualists of the Rothbard kind life in society is simply one species of the 'coordination problem,' as the game theorists describe it—one area in which my rational self-interest needs to be harmonized with yours. And the market is the only reliable way that we humans know, or could know, of coordinating our goal-directed activities, not only with friends and neighbours, but with all the myriad strangers on whom we depend for the contents of our shopping bags. Membership, if it comes about, is simply another form of quasi-contractual agreement, whereby we freely bind ourselves to mutual rights and duties.

Who is right in this? Well, the position that I have attributed to Röpke is to me transparently obvious, whereas that which I have attributed (for the sake of argument) to Rothbard is to me profoundly mistaken. (...)

publicado às 19:24

A liberdade e a igualdade entre a verdade e a retórica

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 24.02.13

Roger Scruton, Postmodern Tories:

«If we are to confront these ideas, it seems to me, we must begin from Plato’s famous distinction between philosophy, whose goal is truth, and rhetoric, whose goal is persuasion. In a media-dominated democracy truth counts for very little, while persuasion is everything. Looming over the battlefield of modern politics is the rhetoric of equality. It fights for any side that can capture it, defending traditional conservatism as equality of opportunity, and socialism as equality of outcome.

Philosophically speaking the idea that all human beings are equal is questionable. Equal in what respect, for what end, and in what perspective? Are criminals to be treated equally with law-abiding citizens, for instance? Nevertheless, from the rhetorical point of view, the very same idea of equality is the premise of every winning argument. Equality demands equal treatment for disadvantaged and advantaged children, and therefore exams that make no real distinctions between them. It demands equal treatment for nationals and for migrants, and therefore the abolition of effective border controls. It demands equal treatment for gay and straight people, and therefore gay marriage.


Looming slightly less prominently over the battlefield is the rhetoric of freedom. Philosophically speaking it is again highly questionable whether human beings are or ought to be free: free from whom, to do what? In the name of freedom men abandon their families; schools abandon discipline; universities abandon the old and tried curriculum in order to offer students a wider choice of degrees. Freedom means opportunity, and opportunity means that the canny, the determined and the strong rise to the top, enjoy those phenomenal city salaries, and join the new class of global fat cats. Dressed up in this way, individual freedom cries out for top-down control.


Yet freedom also opens the road to the rest of us; educational freedom creates opportunities for those at the bottom of society; economic freedom protects the volunteer and the entrepreneur against the smothering cloak of regulation; freedom of conscience protects us from the rule of priests and mullahs, while freedom of speech enables us to scorn bigots and bullies without fear of reprisal. Freedom, in this sense, is unquestionably a good thing—unless it is abused. And there’s the rub. What counts as abuse, who is to decide, and what should be the penalty? The philosophy here is deep and difficult but the rhetoric is easy. Matthew Arnold summarised the matter succinctly: “a very good horse to ride; but to ride somewhere.”

Reading these two books I came to the conclusion that the current difficulties for the conservative cause lie exactly in the tension that worried Plato. The philosophy of conservatism, launched two centuries ago by Adam Smith, Edmund Burke and David Hume, and on the continent by GWF Hegel and Joseph de Maistre, is, in my view, difficult, intricate and true. Today’s winning political rhetoric, by contrast, is simple, persuasive, and false. The theory of knowledge and its social function that inspires Michael Gove cannot silence the loud cry of the teachers’ unions for equality whatever the cost. The subtle arguments for the market economy developed by the Austrian school will never extinguish the zero-sum fallacy, which says that if some are rich it is because others aren’t. Burke’s defence of common law justice, like Hegel’s defence of the family and the corporation, has little weight against the rhetoric of “compassion.” Even those on the right who believe that the long-term effect of this rhetoric is to make everyone dependent on the state, and the state dependent on borrowing from a purely imaginary future, will go on repeating it. For the ruling belief is that “in the long run we are all dead,” as Keynes famously put it—none of us will have to pay for current policies and meanwhile it is best to look caring and nice. The philosophy of conservatism has nothing to say in response to this. For it is not about appearing nice. It is about conserving the foundations of civil society. Whatever rhetoric you choose for promoting that cause, the other side is going to describe you as “nasty.” For rhetoric is about appearance, not truth.»

publicado às 18:24

A política é bem mais complicada do que muitos crêem

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 01.01.13

Roger Scruton: "O mercado livre é o princípio segundo o qual a vida económica deve ser organizada. Mas a vida económica é só parte da vida. As pessoas não procuram apenas o lucro e bens económicos. Procuram a felicidade, valores religiosos, ordem moral. Procuram a amizade com outros, querem unir-se com outros em pequenas comunidades. Isto significa que há muitos aspectos da sociedade para além do mercado. Há clubes, instituições e igrejas e há toda a ordem moral que é difícil de definir caso a caso, mas que é de muito maior importância para nós que a mera acumulação do lucro e evitar perdas. É o entender estes outros aspectos da sociedade humana que nos leva a reconhecer que a política é bem mais complicada do que os free-marketeers gostariam que acreditássemos. A política tem de proteger não apenas o mercado livre, mas também estes outros aspectos da vida social, que são repetidamente ameaçados não só por inimigos exteriores, mas também pela anarquia individual."



(Vídeo via Filipe Faria)

publicado às 21:48

roger scruton - beauty.jpg


Sendo, entre outras coisas, conhecido pela crítica que faz às noções de beleza vigentes nos mais variados domínios, em Beauty Roger Scruton sistematiza magistralmente a sua abordagem kantiana ao conceito de beleza. Rejeitando o relativismo da apreciação estética, considerando que a beleza é um valor universal ancorado na racionalidade humana, Scruton crê que é possível educar o gosto de forma a poder apreciar a beleza e fundamentar esta apreciação na razão. À primeira vista, esta posição pode parecer cair num racionalismo exagerado, mas quem conhece o trabalho de Scruton sabe que não é de todo o caso. A verdade é que, embora a contemporânea corrupção das artes nos leve a celebrar o que é feio, como Scruton não se cansa de assinalar, e esta crise fomentada pelo relativismo intelectual e moral se verifique essencialmente nas Ciências Sociais e Humanas, desde Platão que a beleza se encontra na companhia da verdade e do bem, sendo estes valores o trio que se constitui como centro das preocupações da Filosofia. Partindo desta concepção, o que Scruton faz é recuperar duas ideias de Kant: sendo a apreciação estética individual e, portanto, subjectiva, não deixa de ser passível de ser debatida com terceiros – e daí a possibilidade de se educar o gosto –; e a verdadeira apreciação da beleza é aquela que tem uma perspectiva de interesse desinteressado, sendo um fim em si mesma.


É nesta segunda ideia que me quero focar. Scruton afirma que não «avaliamos a beleza de algo apenas pela sua utilidade, mas também pelo que as coisas são em si próprias – ou mais plausivelmente, pela forma como aparecem em si próprias. (…) Quando o nosso interesse é inteiramente tomado por uma coisa, como ela aparece na nossa percepção, e independentemente de qualquer uso que se lhe possa dar, então podemos começar a falar da sua beleza.»1 Desta forma, «consideramos algo belo quando obtemos prazer em contemplá-lo como um objecto individual, por si próprio, e na sua forma apresentada. (…) Estar interessado na beleza é colocar todos os interesses de lado, de modo a atender à coisa em si própria.»2 É isto que é um interesse desinteressado, contrário à abordagem interessada que pressupõe tratar algo ou alguém como um meio para satisfazer os nossos interesses.


Feitos os considerandos anteriores, permitam-me procurar aplicá-los a duas situações: a música e a beleza feminina.  


Não me recordo onde foi que li ou ouvi que a diferença entre estar apaixonado e não estar é que quando se está a música faz sentido. A ideia parece estar correcta, à primeira vista. Não é preciso realizar um apurado estudo estatístico para chegarmos à noção de que a esmagadora maioria das músicas trata da temática do amor. O que acontece quando estamos apaixonados e ouvimos determinadas músicas é que estas ficam associadas a certos momentos e à pessoa a quem o nosso amor se dirige. Quer o sentimento seja correspondido ou não, quer as músicas nos apareçam por acaso ou sejamos nós a procurar ouvi-las deliberadamente, as composições e as letras parecem feitas de propósito para nós. Quer seja a alegria ou a tristeza que nos invada, parecem realmente fazer sentido. Mas este sentido não decorre da apreciação da música como fim em si mesma. Decorre da condição do sujeito que realiza a apreciação, o que significa que esta tem um contexto do qual o sujeito não se consegue desligar e que não serve o propósito de efectuar uma mais correcta apreciação do valor estético do objecto visado. Por outro lado, quando não estamos apaixonados, por estranho que isto possa parecer a muitos indivíduos, estamos em condições de poder apreciar de forma mais verdadeira – porque inteiramente desprovida de interesse – a beleza de uma música. Não há, contudo, como escapar à temática do amor. Se o tentássemos fazer, provavelmente acabávamos a ouvir uma diminuta porção de toda a música jamais realizada. Mas mesmo que pudéssemos escapar a esta temática, por que o haveríamos de fazer? Juntamente com a verdade, o bem e a beleza, o amor também se constituiu desde a Antiguidade Clássica como temática de eleição dos filósofos, dado que se encontra inscrito na natureza humana e é provavelmente o sentimento mais poderoso que qualquer ser humano pode sentir. Mesmo quando não estamos apaixonados, ou sonhamos em estar ou queremos não cair nesta condição. O amor define-nos, e define em parte a forma como vemos e estamos no mundo.


Isto significa também que o amor está ligado à apreciação da beleza. Dado que o amor se revela na concretização do desejo sexual erótico individualizado, tendo precisamente a ver com a intencionalidade da emoção sexual dirigida a um sujeito corporizado e não apenas a um corpo, importa salientar que, citando novamente Scruton, “De acordo com Platão, o desejo sexual, na sua forma comum, envolve um desejo de possuir o que é mortal e transitório, e uma consequente escravização ao aspecto menor da alma, o aspecto que está imerso no imediatismo sensual e nas coisas deste mundo. O amor pela beleza é realmente um sinal para nos libertarmos deste apego sensorial, e de começarmos a ascensão da alma em direcção ao mundo das ideias, para aí participarmos na versão divina da reprodução, que é a compreensão e a transmissão de verdades eternas.»3 Quando os nossos sentidos estão despertos, quando procuramos a beleza como fim em si mesma, por vezes, embora raramente, deparamo-nos com uma mulher que nos deixa com uma sensação de verdadeira admiração por si, sem que tal envolva necessariamente um interesse sexual. Nestes momentos, percebemos realmente o dilema entre os nossos desejos e instintos primários e o nosso eu mais racional. Prevalecendo o segundo, abre-se a porta a todo um novo tipo de sensações. Chega a tratar-se, quando muito, caso conheçamos a pessoa e, portanto, esta não seja meramente uma estranha que se nos atravessa na rua, de um amor platónico – a sublimação do amor erótico, dirigido a algo mais elevado que é o prazer da contemplação de algo belo. Não contém, nem poderia, o desejo sexual, porque tal seria conspurcar um objecto que para nós se torna sagrado.


Quando existe desejo sexual, quando se trata da mais comum forma de amor, abre-se a porta à eventualidade de sermos invadidos por sensações bem menos tranquilizantes que as referidas no parágrafo anterior. Fernando Pessoa escreveu que todas as cartas de amor são ridículas. E são-no porque ainda antes de serem escritas têm um propósito definido – conquistar a outra pessoa – que advém de algo tão forte que chega a escravizar quem escreve a carta. Quando o eu irracional, primário e movido pelo desejo, se sobrepõe ao eu racional, o resultado é quase sempre desastroso, ridículo e piroso. Numa carta de amor, é-o necessariamente porque a carta é um mero instrumento que visa a conquista do outro, que é objectificado com vista a satisfazer as necessidades emocionais e sexuais de quem escreve. Amar é um egoísmo totalitário e avassalador. Quando não se está inebriado por este tipo de sentimentos, apreciar a beleza de alguém como fim em si mesmo reveste-se de uma natureza completamente diferente. E se por acaso o nosso espírito o decidir declarar à visada, a sensação de o fazer e após o fazer é completamente diferente. É algo verdadeiramente genuíno e que conforta a alma daqueles que estão despertos para a beleza que se encontra neste mundo. Afinal, o que poderá ser mais poético do que a beleza pela beleza?


Como escreveu Oscar Wilde, “Aqueles que encontram belas significações nas coisas belas são cultos. Para esses há esperança. São os eleitos aqueles para quem as coisas belas apenas significam Beleza.”

1 - Roger Scruton, Beauty, Oxford,Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 17.

2 - Ibid., p. 26.

3 - Ibid., p. 41.

publicado às 02:35

A beleza e o sagrado

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 20.08.12

Roger Scruton, "Beauty and Desecration":


«In the eighteenth century, when organized religion and ceremonial kingship were losing their authority, when the democratic spirit was questioning inherited institutions, and when the idea was abroad that it was not God but man who made laws for the human world, the idea of the sacred suffered an eclipse. To the thinkers of the Enlightenment, it seemed little more than a superstition to believe that artifacts, buildings, places, and ceremonies could possess a sacred character, when all these things were the products of human design. The idea that the divine reveals itself in our world, and seeks our worship, seemed both implausible in itself and incompatible with science.


At the same time, philosophers like Shaftesbury, Burke, Adam Smith, and Kant recognized that we do not look on the world only with the eyes of science. Another attitude exists—one not of scientific inquiry but of disinterested contemplation—that we direct toward our world in search of its meaning. When we take this attitude, we set our interests aside; we are no longer occupied with the goals and projects that propel us through time; we are no longer engaged in explaining things or enhancing our power. We are letting the world present itself and taking comfort in its presentation. This is the origin of the experience of beauty. There may be no way of accounting for that experience as part of our ordinary search for power and knowledge. It may be impossible to assimilate it to the day-to-day uses of our faculties. But it is an experience that self-evidently exists, and it is of the greatest value to those who receive it.




Maybe such experiences are rarer now than they were in the eighteenth century, when the poets and philosophers lighted upon them as a new avenue to religion. The haste and disorder of modern life, the alienating forms of modern architecture, the noise and spoliation of modern industry—these things have made the pure encounter with beauty a rarer, more fragile, and more unpredictable thing for us. Still, we all know what it is to find ourselves suddenly transported, by the things we see, from the ordinary world of our appetites to the illuminated sphere of contemplation. It happens often during childhood, though it is seldom interpreted then. It happens during adolescence, when it lends itself to our erotic longings. And it happens in a subdued way in adult life, secretly shaping our life projects, holding out to us an image of harmony that we pursue through holidays, through home-building, and through our private dreams.»

publicado às 14:00

A beleza como libertação

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 15.08.12

Roger Scruton, Beauty:


«According to Plato, sexual desire, in its common form, involves a desire to possess what is mortal and transient, and a consequent enslavement to the lower aspect of the soul, the aspect that is immersed in sensuous immediacy and the things of this world. The love of beauty is really a signal to free ourselves from that sensory attachment, and to begin the ascent of the soul towards the world of ideas, there to participate in the divine version of reproduction, which is the understanding and the passing on of eternal truths.»

publicado às 22:25

«O nosso presente civil» (1)

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 15.07.12

Roger Scruton, As Vantagens do Pessimismo (o titulo do post é o do capítulo de onde estas passagens foram transcritas):


«Ao discutir a teoria austríaca do mercado, notei a semelhança entre essa teoria e a abordagem da tradição que foi articulada pela primeira vez em Reflexões sobre a Revolução em França, de Burke. Ambos os argumentos dependem da ideia de que as soluções racionais para problemas sociais podem evoluir e de que a solução evoluída será sensível à informação respeitante às necessidades e às carências dos estranhos. Essa informação será destruída pelo planeamento de cima para baixo, o que fará progredir no sentido de resultados imprevistos e imprevisíveis, mas sem a informação que podia influenciar esses resultados para o bem comum. Para Burke, o principal dom da tradição foi o estado mental a que chamou «preconceito», pelo qual significava uma forma de pensamento que evolui das experiências reunidas de gerações ausentes. O preconceito evita soluções abstractas e serve de barreira contra a ilusão de que podemos fazer tudo de novo, segundo um plano idealmente racional. Não é irracional: pelo contrário, abre caminho para uma racionalidade colectiva. Pelo contrário, o plano racional, que importa um objectivo colectivo para onde não se prevê coerentemente qualquer objectivo, e que não consegue adaptar-se a mudanças das carências e das necessidades dos agentes individuais, será irracional na sua execução, tal como no seu fim. O planeamento pode ser a resposta adequada a emergências e a conflitos de soma zero, como na guerra. Mas não pode resolver os conflitos da sociedade civil nem proporcionar governo com um objectivo.


Esses argumentos, que constituem o núcleo intelectual de um certo tipo de conservadorismo, não são meros movimentos num debate político. Apontam para a emergência nas sociedades históricas, de uma nova espécie de racionalidade colectiva – não a racionalidade do «eu» de um líder e dos seus planos, mas a racionalidade do «nós» de uma comunidade consensual. É a essa racionalidade do «eu» que o pessimista cauteloso se refere quando tenta neutralizar falsas esperanças. Embora, como argumentei no capítulo nove, a espécie humana tenha herdado defesas ferozes e muitas vezes assustadoras contra aqueles que lhe frustrem as ilusões, a tendência subjacente de civilização e, na verdade, a sua característica definidora é dar uma oportunidade a essas pessoas. A abertura da comunidade à dúvida e à hesitação, a concessão de voz ao profeta – é esse o princípio da sabedoria. E daí emerge uma nova espécie de ordem em que a lei descoberta substitui as ordens reveladas, a negociação substitui a dominação e a livre troca substitui a distribuição centralizada de acordo com o planoem vigor. Essaé a ordem da cidade e é uma ordem que combina liberdade individual com uma genuína primeira pessoa do plural. É vulnerável ao regresso súbito da racionalidade do «eu» e ao frenesim da soma zero dos ressentidos – e assistimos muitas vezes a isso nos últimpos tempos. Mas também tem a capacidade de se manter em existência através das instituições e dos costumes de uma comunidade livre. Parece-me que o nosso actual confronto com os islamitas devia ter-nos despertado para o facto de haver algo precioso em jogo e de essa coisa preciosa ser precisamente o que nos permitiu viver como uma comunidade livre de estranhos, sem nos submetermos a intimidades tribais e a ordens de cima para baixo. Em conclusão, parece certo rever algumas das características distintivas, tanto institucionais como individuais, que nos tornaram possível viver lado a lado em liberdade sem investir os nossos sentimentos sociais nas falsas esperanças que com tanta frequência trouxeram o desastre à espécie humana.»

publicado às 14:29

Roger Scruton em Lisboa

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 18.06.12

Conforme aqui divulguei, Roger Scruton esteve hoje em Lisboa, numa conferência na Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, onde se debruçou essencialmente sobre a temática do estado-nação como resposta para as crises que vamos vivendo, não deixando de criticar as falhas evidentes do processo de integração europeia.


Dando desde já os parabéns aos organizadores por trazerem ao nosso país um dos maiores e mais conhecidos filósofos contemporâneos, impõe-se salientar que, se por um lado foi agradável o tom informal e quase intimista de Scruton ao deparar-se com uma simples sala de aula onde não estavam mais de 15 a 20 pessoas, entre as quais alguns conhecidos bloggers e jovens académicos, o que tornou o ambiente ainda mais agradável e permitiu que as mesmas pessoas colocassem várias perguntas, por outro, parece-me que houve uma certa falta de organização, divulgação e dignidade de tratamento.


Não vi a conferência divulgada em mais lado algum a não ser no Facebook da Quetzal, no site da FCSH encontra-se apenas uma breve referência na agenda/calendário, e fiquei surpreendido por o evento decorrer numa sala de aula e não num auditório, na qual não se encontrava um único estudante, e do corpo docente estariam apenas 4 ou 5 pessoas. Não sei se é habitual que a FCSH trate assim convidados deste calibre, e claro que o facto de ser uma universidade marcadamente esquerdista talvez possa ajudar a explicar isto. Mas, na verdade, parece-me que qualquer universidade portuguesa deve ter noção que quando convida alguém como Scruton, se não causar uma boa impressão, dificilmente a pessoa em causa volta a aceitar outro convite para vir ao nosso país. O mínimo que se pede é que o evento seja bem divulgado, que tenha lugar num auditório e que a universidade faça os possíveis para que a sala seja maioritariamente composta por estudantes. Foi assim há uns meses no ICS, quando Quentin Skinner deu uma memóravel palestra. Estou em crer que no ICS, no ISCSP ou na Católica, Scruton teria sido tratado com a dignidade que merece.


Contudo, saliento, os organizadores estão de parabéns por terem trazido o filósofo britânico a Portugal, onde não vinha há já 30 anos. Da minha parte, não só valeu a pena pela possibilidade de ver, ouvir e interagir com uma lenda viva da filosofia, como também pelo autógrafo abaixo.


publicado às 23:00

Roger Scruton em Lisboa

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 12.06.12

Imperdível! Dia 18, pelas 17h, na Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas. A entrada é livre.


publicado às 17:48

Hayek, PJ Harvey e a "Broken Britain"

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 20.03.12


(Sugestão musical para acompanhar a leitura deste texto)


Inspirado pelo meu post, o Filipe Faria escreveu um excelente texto, cuja leitura é indispensável, em que ele, como bom português à solta, observando directamente a realidade britânica contemporânea, onde o multiculturalismo coloca em risco as tradições culturais e políticas da Inglaterra, nos revela, entre várias ideias, esta: "Conhecendo bem a realidade de ambos os países, neste momento arrisco dizer que Portugal usufrui de uma maior liberdade de expressão."


Neste texto, o Filipe coloca em causa a defesa da democracia por Hayek, que se insere na tradição anglo-saxónica do liberalismo clássico, como forma de limitar o governo, consubstanciada na observação que faz do que se passa no Reino Unido. Mas Hayek estava alerta para os perigos advindos da miragem da justiça social (e do alargamento dos poderes do estado ao abrigo deste, como fiz notar no ponto 4 do meu post "Equívocos a respeito do liberalismo"), das coligações de interesses organizados que negoceiam com e sustentam os partidos políticos, e do positivismo legalista - que confunde a lei (Direito Natural) com legislação, em detrimento da primeira -, cujos efeitos combinados denomina por perversão democrática.


Assim como estão vários autores britânicos, como John Gray e Roger Scruton, que entre o liberalismo e o conservadorismo, com destaque para a inspiração em Hayek e Oakeshott, alertam para os perigos destas acepções modernas. Permitindo-me fazer corresponder a ordem espontânea de Hayek à civil association de Oakeshott, e a ordem de organização à enterprise association, e sabendo que os elementos dos dois tipos de ordem ou de associação se misturam na prática, podendo ser encontrados em vários estados, torna-se útil salientar que para Oakeshott a civil association não necessita de ser culturalmente homogénea mas apenas respeitar a lei acima da identidade cultural, ou seja, a comunidade deverá fundamentar-se no respeito a princípios abstractos e formais. Acontece que, segundo Gray, esta acepção kantiana é profundamente questionável e um calcanhar de Aquiles para o liberalismo e para o conservadorismo. A História recente mostra como é difícil que o estado sustente a sua autoridade apenas sob concepções de lei formais, abstractas e processuais, que assim se torna fragmentada e fraca. Esta ideia surgiu numa altura em que a identidade cultural era dada como garantida, quer por Kant quer pelos Founding Fathers americanos, sendo a identidade em causa a da Cristandade Europeia. Com o Iluminismo francês, a Revolução Francesa e a fragmentação desta identidade, tornou-se mais fraca a autoridade do estado com base em concepções abstractas (veja-se precisamente o caso do Reino Unido, com comunidades muçulmanas que desafiam constantemente o estado e rejeitam as normas tácitas de tolerância características dos britânicos, ou ainda o caso dos EUA, em que uma horda de minorias vai progressivamente tornando o estado cativo, tendo apenas o legalismo a uni-las)[1]. Roger Scruton assinala esta fraqueza e os seus reflexos práticos sob a denominação de falácia da agregação, em que dando o exemplo do Reino Unido evidencia como o multiculturalismo e o Estado Social se combinam de uma forma que é potencialmente destrutiva para a comunidade[2]. E também Hayek faz notar que a modernidade produziu um enquadramento que é altamente destrutivo das tradições intelectuais e morais europeias, que através do racionalismo construtivista e do relativismo produz morais inviáveis, ou seja, sistemas de pensamento moral incapazes de sustentar qualquer ordem social estável, que através de teorizações sociológicas contemporâneas e da corrupção da arquitectura e das artes (como Scruton e Gray demonstram) criam um clima cultural que é profundamente hostil à tradição e também à sua própria existência. Confrontamo-nos, assim, com uma cultura que tem ódio à sua própria identidade, tornando-se, em larga medida, efémera e provisória.[3]


Inspirados pelo Projecto Iluminista, os autores modernos e pós-modernos desenvolveram um caos moral, em que o abuso da razão, o objectivismo e o relativismo criaram um ambiente cultural, social e intelectual que é inimigo da tradição. Ao proporem ancorar a moralidade no racionalismo, o positivismo, o cientismo, o historicismo e o cepticismo conduziram naturalmente ao niilismo, construtivismo e planeamento social, e, consequentemente, ao utilitarismo e emotivismo. A rejeição de qualquer tipo de instituição ou código de comportamento que não seja racionalmente justificado parece ser uma característica distintiva da modernidade[4], o que talvez possa ajudar a explicar o que se passa no Reino Unido, já que os costumes britânicos são completamente postos em causa por este quadro.


Por outro lado, esta discussão relembrou-me um texto que escrevi por altura dos motins em Inglaterra em Agosto de 2011, e de várias discussões que surgiram na blogosfera sobre estes, em que às tantas o Bruno Garschagen colocou uma hipótese que me parece particularmente útil recuperar, e que vai no sentido do pensamento de Scruton a que aludi acima: Os criminosos de Londres são filhos do Welfare State e do multiculturalismo? Não se encontrará aqui também parte da explicação para o que se passa em Inglaterra? E mais, daqui lanço o repto ao caríssimo Filipe, caso ache(s) por bem, de elaborar(es) sobre algo que conhece(s) muito bem (ao contrário de mim), a Escola de Frankfurt, que em larga medida se faz sentir na academia britânica, e de nos ajudar(es) a perceber se e de que forma as ideias desta não são também em grande parte responsáveis por este ambiente.


Só para finalizar, quanto a Hayek, este propôs uma reforma das instituições democráticas em Law, Legislation and Liberty. Para além de demonstrar a vacuidade do conceito de justiça social, para tentar recuperar e/ou evitar a confusão entre lei e legislação e os efeitos nefastos do positivismo legalista, propõe que os parlamentos sejam compostos por duas câmaras, em que uma trataria da lei (as regras de justa conduta da ordem espontânea, descobertas e em linha com a opinião pública), e outra da legislação (correspondente aos comandos específicos da ordem de organização, ou seja, à noção de vontade), o que seria complementado por um Tribunal Constitucional que teria como missão evitar a confusão entre lei e legislação, para que as duas assembleias não entrem em conflito relativamente às suas respectivas competências. Até que ponto isto será praticável, não sei. Mas fica a sugestão.

[1] John Gray, “Oakeshott as a liberal”, in John Gray, Gray’s Anatomy, Londres, Penguin Books, 2009, pp. 83-84.

[2] Roger Scruton, As Vantagens do Pessismismo, Lisboa, Quetzal, 2011, pp. 151-163.

[3] John Gray, “Hayek as a Conservative”, in John Gray, Gray’s Anatomy, op. cit., p. 131.

[4] Edward Feser, “Hayek on Tradition”, in Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2003, p. 17.

publicado às 21:52

Liberalismo clássico, conservadorismo e democracia

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 19.03.12

Aqui fica o meu artigo publicado no número 1 da popcom, a nova publicação do Gabinete de Estudos Gonçalo Begonha, da Juventude Popular.



(Locke, Burke, Montesquieu, Hayek)


O liberalismo clássico é uma tradição política que representou uma ruptura com o que se designa por Ancien Regime, materializada concretamente nas Revoluções Atlânticas – Inglesa (1688), Americana (1776) e Francesa (1789). Estas encontram-se na origem daquilo que hoje denominamos por democracia liberal. Na verdade, a democracia liberal e os diversos entendimentos quanto a esta, podem dividir-se em duas grandes correntes, tendo como diferença essencial a forma como encaram o conceito de liberdade, que se encontra no âmago do liberalismo e em torno do qual existem complexas teorizações. Esta distinção permite-nos considerar que, na realidade, não há apenas um liberalismo, mas vários, embora o liberalismo constitua uma única tradição política.[1]




publicado às 23:21

Da auto-transcendência em Nietzsche

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 15.01.12

Roger Scruton, Guia de Filosofia para Pessoas Inteligentes:


«Foi Max Stirner quem anunciou ao mundo, em 1845, que Deus está morto. Repetindo o obituário em Assim Falou Zaratustra, Nietzsche deu-se perspicazmente conta de que a espécie humana acharia duro viver com as notícias e, por conseguinte, que algo devia ser oferecido como consolação. Se não há um ser transcendental, sugeriu ele, só podemos ir ao encontro das nossas aspirações por auto-transcendência, pela dominação da natureza humana, na versão superior e mais forte dela, que é o Übermensch. Uns quantos discípulos tentaram seguir o conselho de Nietzsche, com resultados por regra tão desagradáveis para outros que foi a própria tentativa que se descredibilizou. O mínimo que se pode dizer é que, se se é um Übermensch, é melhor manter o silêncio sobre esse dado. De facto, a moral da auto-transcendência de Nietzsche mostra o sentido da religião para seres como nós: a fé é um triunfo supremo sobre a nossa solidão transcendental; sem ela, ou fazemos dessa solidão uma virtude, como fez Nietzsche, ou vivemos num nível menos exaltado. O anúncio da morte de Deus é menos uma declaração sobre Deus, do que uma declaração sobre nós.» 

publicado às 15:04

Da série "Coisinhas boas acabadas de chegar pelo correio"

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 11.01.12

publicado às 11:46


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