In case you were not able to attend the lecture and are interested in hearing Mr. Blond’s remarks, please see the Tocqueville Forum’s streaming audio of the lecture: https://mediapilot.georgetown.edu/sharestream2gui/getMedia.do?action=streamMedia&mediaPath=0d2117cd27760d9e012788c51caf002f&cid=0d21b6201df9d7e6011e20cfb5eb0052&userFrom=. For more information about the Forum, visit our website at http://www.tocquevilleforum.org.

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Mark T. Mitchell
Mark T. Mitchell teaches political theory at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. He is the author Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing and The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age (Potomac Books, 2012). He is co-editor of another book titled, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. Currently he is writing a book on private property. In 2008-9, while on sabbatical at Princeton University, he and Jeremy Beer hatched a plan to start a website dedicated to political decentralism, economic localism, and cultural regionalism. A group of like-minded people quickly formed around these ideas, and in March 2009, FPR was launched. Although he was raised in Montana and still occasionally longs for the west, he lives in Virginia with his wife, three sons and one daughter where they are in the process of turning a few acres into a small farm. See books written by Mark Mitchell.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this Mark. I was all set to kill two birds with one stone by driving to Villanova to see him in person yesterday only to come down with the 24 hr flu Sunday evening in a synchronistic manner that could have me embracing the porcelain font and retching whilst the nervous and jerky commentators on the Telly fertilized the national dyspepsia over our Health Care (as if health care had much to do with it)…..A Republican scandalously used the phrase “hell no” as I was saluting the Gods of Digestion once again. I discovered that bilious personal output provides a perfect soundtrack for modern political discourse.

    But, as to what appears to be a a very sane human in Mr. Blond. A few of his major points that resounded in my ears:

    “We have lost an organic sense of the Good”. Underline “organic” and his identification with older strains of “liberalism” which were chary of the State as we have concocted it.

    “Subsidiarity is not a fetishism of the small, it is an identification of the most appropriate”. How novel. This is a bit of responsible reasoning that even the most hidebound Federalist in the Founder’s era could have embraced.

    “The re-entrenchment of economic caste”. This alone, should give pause for any American even mildly interested in Liberty. His rebuke of individualism is in the vein of preserving a more evolved sense of the individual, at once independent and highly social…i.e., the only individual worth having. All else is simple dog eat dog narcissism.

    He also underscores the high comedy of being an advocate of the Free Market within the ritualistic, members only government subsidized, external cost-heavy market of today.

    The Enlightenment was not altogether an evil unto itself, it has been , to a degree, a perversion of those liberal traditions spawned by the Enlightenment that has created the very real Banal Evil in our debt-financed totalitarian system. The most technologically advanced , plush and abundantly “choiced” civilization in history has taken the Enlightenment and used it as a cudgel on what the State has come to perceive as impediments to “progress”. As a result, we are High Concept, Machine Age Fetishists, validating ourselves by creating a rotating menu of “enemies”. Instead of elevating the Homo Faber, we built a pedestal for the Animal Laborens and awarded him with necktie and a desk to check boxes in. We have taken the Enlightenment and set it in opposition to Tradition, rather than maintaining the “Ties that bind” in that age-old way of the very human discursive intelligence. This is , in my mind, Blonds essential message, a Renaissance of the Discursive Man and his vital social attachments that no State, no matter how despotic on the one hand, or well meaning on the other, can ever plan, let alone achieve. The Cold War rendered up two losers, one of them is just using the State and its un-indicted co-conspirators as embalming fluid. Some of the Americans in the Embassy in Soviet-era Moscow once referred to Lenin in his tomb as “Dead Fred the Head Red”. Perhaps we should move him over and add Dead FED, the Un-Dead.

  2. Subsidiarity is not a fetishism of the small, it is an identification of the most appropriate”.

    That is the most lucid definition of subsidiarity I have seen.

    For some reason – my computer stops about midpoint in the audio – this is probably my error but I hope these will remain online for awhile?

    I was driving to Villanova when my “check engine” light went on. By the time it was squared away (loose cable of some sort) it was late but a colleague who went said the place was packed. So congratulations to all involved.

  3. DW and Cecelia: Sorry you didn’t make it. It was a good event with lively Q&A. Video should be up by tomorrow.

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