Republican Freedom - Philip Pettit in the Irish Times

Mercurial

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I came across this interesting article in the Irish Times, written by one of Ireland's foremost political philosophers, Philip Pettit.

Pettit's speciality is civic republicanism a view which promotes the idea of freedom as non-domination. In this article, he considers this idea in the context of Irish history, and some of the problems facing Irish society today.

Some excerpts from the article:
The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, Poblacht na hÉireann, reinforces a rich and inspiring connection with the long tradition of European republicanism.

The core ambition that the proclamation emphasises, in line with republican thought, is the importance of achieving freedom in three distinct dimensions, democratic, personal and national. It suggests that the people as a whole should enjoy democratic freedom in relation to the government that rules over them; that individual people should enjoy personal freedom in their relations with one another; and that the state they constitute should enjoy national freedom in the sphere of global relations.
The republican idea of freedom was well summed up by Tone when he wrote that true republicans ‘detest ever the name of master’. The word for master in Latin was dominus and for close to 2,000 years the republican notion of freedom was taken to require not having to live under the power of a private or public dominus, even one of proven goodwill. It meant living instead on your own terms, protected equally with others under a regime of law that you share equally in controlling.
The forces of global finance and euro-zone austerity have severely dented Ireland’s national freedom over the past decade. They have required taxpayers to bail out the bondholders of private banks, imposed a budgetary regime that we would never have contemplated outside the euro zone, and driven the country to rely on soliciting multinational corporations with sweetheart taxation arrangements. But here, as on other fronts, our failures to secure republican freedom should not cause us to despair, only to resolve that however long it takes, we will work to make things better.

As this indicates, the republican image of freedom offers a moral compass for identifying what we should expect our country to do for us – and for the world – and what we as a citizenry should do for our country. In providing such a challenging perspective, it stands in stark contrast to the impoverished, neo-liberal ideal that is so widely touted today.
In the neo-liberal vision people are free insofar as they can all compete on the market in exchanging goods and services and labour. And so the role of democratic law, essentially secondary in character, is to regulate this competition, guarding against only the worst abuses and the harshest side-effects of a commercial free-for-all.
 


silverharp

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I see a few contradictions in there , on the one hand he talks about individual freedom and then seems to think the government ought to spend more (of people's taxes) . Nobody paying 50% tax is free
 

Mercurial

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I see a few contradictions in there , on the one hand he talks about individual freedom and then seems to think the government ought to spend more (of people's taxes) . Nobody paying 50% tax is free
That depends on how you understand freedom (or, what sort of freedom you think is worth protecting).

If the government takes taxes from you, it makes you less free in one way, but it can use your money to make you (and other people) more free in other ways.
 

GabhaDubh

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It seems that the writer is proposing an Irish form of Libertarianism where the government only operates in the role of Night-watchman, a laissez-faire version of individual freedom.
 

Mercurial

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It seems that the writer is proposing an Irish form of Libertarianism where the government only operates in the role of Night-watchman, a laissez-faire version of individual freedom.
The republican conception of freedom that Pettit favours is much more substantive than the negative liberty traditionally supported by libertarians.
 

silverharp

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That depends on how you understand freedom (or, what sort of freedom you think is worth protecting).

If the government takes taxes from you, it makes you less free in one way, but it can use your money to make you (and other people) more free in other ways.
where is the calculation? in a normal transaction both parties feel like they have had a good deal. Or even in an insurance transaction people don't mind paying into a community pot to manage a risk. However when the state seems to view "its" citizens to be taxed and managed to suit the state then freedom has been curtailed in a non balancing way because there is a bit of master servant relationship going on.
 

former wesleyan

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And so the role of democratic law, essentially secondary in character, is to regulate this competition, guarding against only the worst abuses and the harshest side-effects of a commercial free-for-all

And what is wrong with that ? Considering that modern cities - meaning the citizens thereof - are totally dependent on commerce, to the point where there'd be near starvation with resulting violent chaos if commerce failed for any reason , I fail to see that there's any viable alternative. Command economies having been tried and shown to fail, that is.
 

Jim Car

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Republicanism can mean many thing but one thing it is not as some Irish republicans try to make it, is it is not intrinsically linked to socialism and the ideals of socialism. Its like the phrase a "socialist republic" which is one of the greatest contradiction of terms there is.
 

Jim Car

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That depends on how you understand freedom (or, what sort of freedom you think is worth protecting).

If the government takes taxes from you, it makes you less free in one way, but it can use your money to make you (and other people) more free in other ways.
Liberty in its purest from is freedom from restriction. How far that should go is a debatable. Obviously you need some government to prevent anarchy but to much government does restrict and infringe upon the liberties of individuals. If you ask me government taking over 50% (meaning most of what you earn) is an infringement personally I see around 33%-35% max as being acceptable.
That said I'm not against taxes they are a necessary evil in my eyes as is government. But one should never ever trust government or the institutions of government, it is governments after all that have committed the greatest crimes and mass killing in history. One should always have a "healthy distrust" of government even if you voted for them.
 

Mercurial

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And so the role of democratic law, essentially secondary in character, is to regulate this competition, guarding against only the worst abuses and the harshest side-effects of a commercial free-for-all

And what is wrong with that ? Considering that modern cities - meaning the citizens thereof - are totally dependent on commerce, to the point where there'd be near starvation with resulting violent chaos if commerce failed for any reason , I fail to see that there's any viable alternative. Command economies having been tried and shown to fail, that is.
Presumably the problem is that it only aspires to protect the very worst off, meaning that those who are badly off but not extremely so are left without sufficient support.
 

McTell

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No
Not that well thought out.

Our democracy is based on TDs serving "clients". Tax money will tend to go to clients. More tax money allows for more clients. No thanks!

Whether or not the clients' wishes are in line with the common good, the clients must be placated. The american republican ideal of a man standing on his own two feet has never applied here, sadly.

I don't see how this is republican - where by definition the republic deals with those things (res) held for the good of the whole public (publica).

Had Pettit come up with a formula to say how a catholic-ethos republic emerged, at a time when the papacy hated republics, I'd have been much more impressed.

Instead we have an academic looking for feel-good approval from the government, the government that pays our academics twice the european average.
 

statsman

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The republican idea of freedom was well summed up by Tone when he wrote that true republicans ‘detest ever the name of master’.
And yet he approves of a 'Republican' declaration that opens by evoking the name of God, the ultimate 'master'.

Try again.
 

Lúidín

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Mercurial:...one of Ireland's foremost political philosophers...
Wiki: He is Laurence Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University and also Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University.[1] He was a Guggenheim Fellow.
:lol: Who are you trying to kid? I'll stick with Clare Daly. At least she has street cred.
 

McTell

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No
And yet he approves of a 'Republican' declaration that opens by evoking the name of God, the ultimate 'master'.

Try again.

Plus the 1937 constitution preamble - now it's the Trinity (but not TCD-Trinity :lol:)


In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whomis all authority and to Whom, as our final end, allactions both of men and States must be referred,We, the people of Éire,

Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to ourDivine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained ourfathers through centuries of trial,Gratefully remembering their heroic andunremitting struggle to regain the rightful ....


http://archive.constitution.ie/reports/ConstitutionofIreland.pdf
 

GDPR

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I hate Republicanism/Jacobinism, yes I admire deeply Patrick Pearse and Vol Bobby Sands MP, but they were Republicans by default, by an accident of history, and lived and died so above the grasping nasty pettiness of a Wolfe Tone or George Washington. Merc please do me a favour and watch the below youtube of the undefeated bare knuckle boxing champion of the Atlantic Isles between 1972 and 1993, in a totally unaffected way with deep, actually heart breaking, humility he actually outlines Aristocratic Catholic philosophy which of course he probably never read in books and even he did you can tell that comes from his inner depths.

[video=youtube;TykLn5bnWNI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TykLn5bnWNI[/video]
 

McTell

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No
..by an accident of history, and lived and died so above the grasping nasty pettiness of a Wolfe Tone or George Washington. Merc please do me a favour and watch the below youtube of the undefeated bare knuckle boxing champion of the Atlantic Isles between 1972 and 1993, ...

Give me a bare-knuckle intellectual any day hun
 

GDPR

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Give me a bare-knuckle intellectual any day hun
The point isnt that he isnt being intellectual he is just humbly explaining himself. What he says in the video is deceptively simple but has such profound depths. The man's humility considering his bravery and achievements is terrifying.
 

Mercurial

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And yet he approves of a 'Republican' declaration that opens by evoking the name of God, the ultimate 'master'.

Try again.
I don't see how that contradicts the claim in the original article, which was that the particular quite offers a good summary of the idea in question (which makes no mention of God).
 

statsman

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I don't see how that contradicts the claim in the original article, which was that the particular quite offers a good summary of the idea in question (which makes no mention of God).
I'm afraid that as a secular Republican I fail to find the 1916 Proclamation inspiring.
 


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