The whole and its parts

Give a listen to this conversation over at Mars Hill Audio Journal between Ken Myers and Patrick Deneen. Deneen teaches political theory at Georgetown University, and he and Myers discuss the philosophy of Wendell Berry, democracy, and the nature of contemporary politics.

Myers observes–with particular poignancy to our current election–that in the early years of this country, the Americans thinking deeply about the nature of governance and legislation were also the ones governing and legislating. In the last hundred years, the particular tasks of politics (and really, the particular tasks that make up all our lives) have been atomized into distinct specializations performed by experts, so that many politicians spend careers focused on the specializations of campaigning and legislating without dealing with  communities as a whole.

The philosophy of specialization and the metaphor of the machine have brought a similar fragmentation to every corner of our lives; our daily jobs, families, and our selves.

McCain’s comment on evil

Demophilus sums up my own thoughts on McCain’s response to the evil question at the Saddleback forum:

I cringed when McCain said he wanted to “defeat” evil, but its worth noting he immediately talked about hunting down bin Laden and winning the War on Terror. I think both formulations are wrong in their own way (I don’t much care about bin Laden, and I think the phrase “War on Terror” is stupid), but he wasn’t literally talking about the removal of evil from the world in a metaphysical sense. In fact, he was responding to Rick Warren’s formulation of picking between “ignoring, negotiating with, containing, or defeating” evil — I would have chosen “contain,” but isn’t nuance lost in most multiple choice settings?

If you’re going to compare cringe-worthy quotes from the debate, though, Obama’s “above my pay grade” comment regarding giving human rights to babies made me wince far more. Gene Veith discusses that one here.