sententiarum collectio

Month: May 2018

Betwixt the Devil and the deep sea

Incontinent from our Batteries, our cannon did play again within the leaguer, which continued the whole day, doing great hurt on both sides, where the whole time, I with my party, did lie on our post, as betwixt the Devil and the deep sea, for sometimes our own cannon would light short, and graze over us, and so did the enemies’ also, where we had three shot with the cannon, till I directed an officer our own batteries, acquainting them with our hurt, and desiring they should stell or plane the cannon higher.

Robert Monro, His Expedition with the Worthy Scots Regiment Called Mac-Keyes, 1637.

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Libertarianism and Cooperation

“Although liberalism is often criticized for being overly individualistic and insufficiently attentive to intermediate associations, such criticisms depend on shallow articulations of liberal theory. To the contrary, the strongest forms of liberalism start from the premises that emphasize the significance and value of social relationships and social cooperation. To the extent that liberalism is a distinctive theory, distinguishable from libertarianism, liberalism is essentially a theory about the value of cooperative activity and the proper role social cooperation plays in shaping the identities and opportunities of autonomous individuals who engage in it.”

Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Liberal vs. Libertarian Notions of Social Cooperation

“Although liberalism is often criticized for being overly individualistic and insufficiently attentive to intermediate associations, such criticisms depend on shallow articulations of liberal theory. To the contrary, the strongest forms of liberalism start from premises that emphasize the significance and value of social relationships and social cooperation. To the extent that liberalism is a distinctive theory, distinguishable from libertarianism, liberalism is essentially a theory about the value of cooperative activity and the proper role social cooperation plays in shaping the identities and opportunities of autonomous individuals who engage in it. The role social cooperation plays in liberal theory is absolutely central. It is the starting place of the theory and infuses its conception of the person. Social cooperation provides opportunities for individuals to develop autonomous capacities, many of which involve capacities concerning interpersonal interaction, and creates sophisticated and unique contexts for its full exercise that would otherwise be impossible. In this way, liberal theories differ dramatically from libertarian theories: libertarian theories begin with the individual and struggle to justify and explain the conditions under which social cooperation might be acceptable to autonomous individuals. For libertarians, the conditions and value of individual autonomy are thought to be prior to and in some tension with the compromises of social cooperation. For liberals, social cooperation is an integral context in which the autonomous capacities of individuals are developed and in which the exercise of individual autonomy is facilitated and may achieve its full value.

Seana Valentine Shiffrin, Essay: What is Really Wrong with Compelled Association?, 99 Nw. U.L. Rev. 839, 867-868 (2005).

Today’s Thistles in My Garden

Today was rough. One person undermined years worth of my careful planning, hard work, and hard-won relationships, all of which have yielded — until today — successful project. To make it worse, it was done in a way that calls into question my character and ability. And the destruction was needless and unwarranted. My anger and frustration consumed energy and thoughts that I needed to focus elsewhere — on writing my own paper. I can’t tell you if your work travails correlate to your sight or not. But I can tell you that you aren’t alone in feeling stuck in a stony, thorn-filled garden. A healthy theology of vocation helps pull me through: Work wasn’t meant to be this way, and our garden — and fellow gardeners — won’t always be cursed. The depravity that I experienced from others today still resides in me; but for the grace of God I would been more destructive today. Press on in knowledge and grace.

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