(Article changed on October 11, 2013 at 12:16)
(Article changed on October 9, 2013 at 10:57)
Professor Nussbaum argues that love is necessary for social and political cohesiveness in liberal democracies such as the experiments in democratic governance in the
Now I ask you this: Do you think that love or justice matter for Tea Party Republicans? As I highlight Nussbaum's thought here, you might keep Tea Party Republicans in mind. For example, do you think that perhaps some Tea Party Republicans may be motivated by what Kant refers to as radical evil, or by what Nussbaum refers to as anthropodenial, or by what she refers to as narcissism -- or perhaps by a combination of all three tendencies? I know, I know, I should be careful not to indulge in projective tendencies regarding our fellow Americans who describe themselves as Tea Party Republicans. After all, we have been admonished to love our neighbors as ourselves. Nevertheless, the comic spirit may be called for to deal with Tea Party Republicans. But enough about Tea Party Republicans.
Basically, Nussbaum's argument about why love matters for justice is related, roughly, to the motto "fraternity" from the French Revolution, but without the old gender bias of the term "fraternity."
Historically, the famous experiment in participatory democracy in ancient
THE HEBREW PROPHETS
Historically, the most famous advocates of social justice were arguably the ancient Hebrew prophets such as Amos and Isaiah of Jerusalem and Hosea. In their day, the ancient Hebrews lived under a monarchy, not a democracy. Nevertheless, Amos, Isaiah of Jerusalem and Hosea and other ancient Hebrew prophets had their own ideas of the covenant that they urged upon the ruling class whenever they saw it necessary to do so. Their own understanding of the covenant demanded that the ruling class look after the well-being of all Hebrews in an all-inclusive way -- the spirit of fraternity writ large. In short, the ancient Hebrew prophets are the precursors of Nussbaum's new book, even though she does not happen to mention them explicitly in her book. They are the precursors of her new book in the sense that they pioneered the genre she refers to as normative political philosophy, even though they may not have been the only ones to have pioneered this genre.
DIGRESSION: Because the covenant is usually not considered in discussions of political philosophy, I can understand why Nussbaum does not discuss the ancient Hebrew prophets' understanding of the covenant. However, I find it harder to understand why she does not mention Eric A. Havelock's book THE GREEK CONCEPT OF JUSTICE: FROM ITS SHADOW IN HOMER TO ITS SUBSTANCE IN PLATO (Harvard University Press, 1978). END OF DIGRESSION.
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Even though the motto "fraternity" was not explicitly part of the American Revolution, something akin to fraternity no doubt existed among the men known as the American revolutionaries and the Founding Fathers. Those men rallied around the idealistic document known as the Declaration of Independence. The American revolutionaries first had to win the American Revolution before they could proceed to found a new country with its own constitution. As we know, they did win, and then they proceeded to debate the provisions of a new constitution. For the purposes of governance, the Constitution is the document that we turn to, and we still debate the meaning of certain provisions and of certain amendments that have been added to it over the years. Nevertheless, if we want to understand the American spirit, we usually turn to the idealistic Declaration of Independence.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S CONTRIBUTION
As Nussbaum notes, President Abraham Lincoln effectively rewrote the ideals expressed in this document in his famous Gettysburg Address. As a result, to be an American today, Americans are expected to embrace