SUMMARY Ã Statecraft as Soulcraft


Government involves the cultivation of good character in Statecraft as PDFEPUBits citizen. A few uotes from the bookStatecraft as soulcraft should mean only a steady inclination generally unfelt and unthought It should mean a disposition in the weighing of political persons and measures to include consideration of whether they accord with worthy ends for the polity pg 94Will diverse and even noble characters flourish in a society in which the political order takes its bearings from the low but predictable passions of men pg 101 102Political philosophy is about the polity which is much than governmental institutions It includes all the institutions dispositions habits and s on which government depends and on which therefore government should strive to have a shaping influence No country is a thing of mere physical locality A hotel is a physical locality; hotels have residents Countries do not have residents they have citizens Democratic government must be a tutor as well as a servant to its citizens because citizenship is a state of mind pg 24

CHARACTERS Statecraft as Soulcraft

Statecraft as SoulcraftGeorge Will explores how America has become a nation of individuals and interest groups gi. Statecraft as Soulcraft was the right book at the right time for me I've been thinking deeply about politics and the structure of our society and this book put in the most articulate and complete terms what I feel I've been chewing on I don’t think I’ve ever underlined or starred a text uite so much—often to the detriment of my reading speed First Will makes a great effort to point out that it is not a matter of whether or not statecraft should be soulcraft—that our laws and government should shape the moral sentiments of a nation—but that statecraft is soulcraft—it is an unavoidable fact that the structure of our society shapes its values He is not proposing a new regime of government intervention but recognizing that even in its most laissez faire form government plays a gigantic role in society both in its commissions and omissions He makes a point of this to litigate the conservative idea that somehow government can be totally irrelevant to our daily lives that it can play an imperceptibly small inconseuential role We aren’t choosing between government and no government Will argues but good government and bad government The state is here to stay so let’s work with it Will’s central argument is that government should consider the values virtue and character of its people in the process of governing and should make efforts to instill the beneficent attributes of moderation social sympathy and a willingness to sacrifice private desires for public ends Rather than giving particular policy prescriptions Will suggest that this should be a general concern of policy makers—a lens through which they evaluate policies not a consolidated program of bills to pass It is less tactical and strategicIf there is a villain in this treatise it is the intellectual strain of individualism and self interestedness that has—in Will’s mind—run amok over the last 200 years This intellectual tradition beginning with Machiavelli and Hobbes runs counter to the philosophies of the ancient Greeks Whereas Aristotle asked “what is the highest calling of man and society” Machiavelli was interested in the acuisition maintenance and application of political power while Hobbes spoke of the nasty insecure state of nature and man’s desire to join into political union out of rational self interest—not any devotion to higher ends From these two men sprout the Western political philosophy of Locke Paine Jefferson and the like They argue that the goal of government and I’m painting in broad strokes here is to design and manage a system that 1 protects individual freedom 2 purposes the self interestedness of man towards the common good We assume poorly of human nature and try to work around itThis philosophy manifests itself in a system of capitalism where the invisible hand of the market driven by the accumulated decisions of the self interested pushes society towards ever higher standards of prosperity and opportunity But it is a philosophy that cannot exactly come to grips with the abuses within the system If it is a virtue to allow man to pursue his self interest then how can we judge his actions if they are self interested Will points out that this debate came to its great crescendo in the mid 19th century with Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln Douglas argued that it was the South’s right to pursue its self interest through the institution of slavery—just as it was Illinois’ prerogative to not do so—while Lincoln contested that self interest must be subordinate to the moral values of a nation in this case those of the Declaration of Independence Freedom can only exist within the confines of virtue and individual discipline But what allowed the American experiment to proceed so successfully for 200 years if we were in fact trapped by a system doomed for failure Will points out that the republic has been guided for generations by the moral values and virtues he says are essential for prosperity Put simply we had a people who would police themselves Yet as liberalism has pushed us forward our shared sense of national identity has fractured and our moral tradition has faded The fact of this is plain to see The family structure both nuclear and extended is crumbling Faith in and reliance on institutions are decreasing Citizens no longer feel tied to their ancestors or communities A “meritocracy” that honors the rich and famous reigns while the provincial values of neighborliness and moderation are ignored We see it in our divided politics and rising rates of depression and anxiety The sinew that has made our nation prosperous spindles away before our eyes To be clear Will doesn’t say that the capitalist system should be thrown away; he is very much in favor of markets as a way of allocating resources and creating wealth Rather we should be aware so as not to slay the goose that lays the golden eggs We must understand that man’s highest billet cannot be consumer and producer but that these things are subordinate to what makes a prosperous life As a final note I was researching Will online to get a sense of the rest of his career and I was shocked to the degree to which has become somewhat of a self described libertarian Most of his award winning writing was penned in the 1980s and 1990s and I can’t help but wonder if he has suffered the fate described by Ross Douthat most opinion columnists only have one or two good decades in them before they become stale

George F. Will ✓ 1 SUMMARY

SUMMARY Ã Statecraft as Soulcraft ↠ ❤ Statecraft as Soulcraft pdf ⚣ Author George F. Will – George Will explores how America has become a nation of individuals and interest groups given to unchecked self indulgence which can destroy us as a nation According to Will proper government involves George Will explorVen to unchecked self indulgence which can destroy us as a nation According to Will proper. For me a life changing introduction to a classical conservatism that predates the Movement as it became known in midcentury America Scott Galupo