From Pluralist to Patriotic Politics: Putting Practice First by Charles Blattberg

By Charles Blattberg

The ethical and political philosophy of pluralism has develop into more and more influential. To pluralists, while values certainly clash we should always goal to strike a suitable stability or trade-off among them, even though this suggests accepting that compromise might be inevitable. Politics, consequently, seems to be as a completely tragic affair.

Drawing on a "hermeneutical" perception of interpretation, the writer develops an unique account of functional reasoning, one that assumes that, even though making compromises within the face of conflicts is certainly frequently unavoidable, there are occasions while reconciliation, as specified from compromise, is possible. For this to be so, even if, voters needs to attempt to converse--and not only negotiate--with one another, therefore satisfying the nice that's on the center in their shared political group. this is often the significant message of the patriotic replacement to pluralist politics that the writer defends here.

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In Spheres, Walzer acknowledges that the U n i t e d States has suffered a long history of racism, but rejects the proposal that Americans should suspend the n o r m of equal consideration for individual citizens and reserve a certain n u m b e r of offices for AfricanAmericans. Instead of turning to this 'last resort', he recommends responding to the problem with a p r o g r a m m e of public expenditures, democratically agreed upon, which would entail heavy investment in certain depressed areas or industries.

68 69 70 Pluralist Polities 51 Nevertheless it is far from obvious that such a programme, as long as it is not abused, is necessarily unjust. A n o t h e r such transgression of the principle of separation on the part of the state arises from a reform that Walzer has called for as regards a n u m b e r of the society's institutions: democratization. M a n y of Walzer's critics have argued that his theory, based as he claims it is on the shared understandings of a citizenry, is inherently conservative and so lacks critical purchase.

A n d yet, for Aristotle, if one is to engage in practical reason one must be able to rely on the matter in question having, as a background, a set of practices that are organized in a certain way, such that they constitute a 4 5 Compromising 66 Zero-Sum Compromising Zero-Sum Morals Morals 67 9 whole way of life. The matter is similar for those pluralists who would turn to moral sense for, to them, when t h e r e is a collision between values, then if one is to reason about that conflict those values may be only to some extent incommensurable, which is to say that, despite their irreducible differences, they are nevertheless comparable as long as this can be d o n e against the background of a shared way of life.

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