Shout OutBy Patrick J. Deneen for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC
Let me recommend the latest issue – as well as really all issues – of the very fine journal “Perspectives on Political Science,” edited by our friendly nemesis Peter Lawler, and which includes on its Editorial Board familiar FPR names like Susan McWilliams and yours truly (in addition to a truly stellar line up of fine academics, such as my colleague, the Rev. James V. Schall, S.J.). Among the many fine offerings in the latest issue is a terrific little essay entitled “The Demise of Feminist Communitarianism” by Jon A. Shields and Steven Serna (January-March, 2011, Vol. 40, no. 1). The essay explores the decline of the second-wave feminist ideal of “the ethic of care” when confronted with the fundamental contradiction of abortion advocacy. The article invites us to consider how deeply corrosive libertarian logic tends to be, undermining what appears to be core commitments to care and membership in the name of personal liberation. Particularly chilling is a recent iteration of feminist liberationism which seeks to combine this ethic of liberationism with the desire to secure tax-payer funding for abortions. This seeming contradiction has resulted in arguments that the State must agree to regard unwanted pregnancy as an attack or invasion upon a woman, thus justifying the use of State funds to defend women against such attacks. Thus individualist libertarian logic ultimately ushers in statism, now in the call for State-sponsored extirpation of the weak and defenseless who stand in the way of liberation.
There are a number of other very fine articles in this issue, but let me also point out in particular the review of Phillip Blond’s Red Tory by G. J. McAleer of Loyola University in Baltimore. The review provides an excellent overview of Blond’s argument (as well as his meteoric rise on the British scene), and a very positive assessment of Blond’s project. The review ends with these cheering and hope-giving words: “Tantalizing questions remain for Americans intrigued by [Blond’s] thoughts and innovations…. To answer them, in addition to its implementation in England, one needs to watch the American reception of Red Tory. There are already signs indicating a positive one, from a David Brooks New York Times column to blog discussions (e.g., Front Porch Republic). They point to aspects of our cultural and political landscape that tend to escape Left-Right, liberal and conservative, labels and dichotomies. They, too, bear watching.”
Amid the ruins, heartening words indeed.