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May 06, 2009


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The great challenge is keeping community and civic order in the right balance. To much emphasis on order can stifle the devlopment of authentic community. A polite society is not automatically a community.

I think we stuggle with this tension all the time in the context of our presbyteries.

Did you ever read the book "The Lost City" about the rise and demise of 3 sections of Chicago?

I recall a line like this: You can have unlimted choice or you can have community. But you cannot have both.

Don't recall the author but I think he was part of that group of folks called "Communitarians" that gathered a lot of ink circa 1995.

Michael W. Kruse

Not familiar with Lost City. I looked it up at Amazon.

I think both conservatism and liberalism are alternative means to the same end: Personal autonomy. One wants it through utter independence and the other through government subsidy and enforcement.

There other options besides the self-made individual and a society run by a national government. The intermediary institutions between individuals and government are the key.


Both Neo-Calvinism and Catholic Social Teaching lift up the need for intermediary institutions. I think your ideas (and what Brook's scratches at here) resonate with those systems.

Michael W. Kruse

Don't know that I'm Neo-Calvinist but I do think there is a bit of Kuyper running in my veins. :-)


The evidence re the rottenness now at the core of the GOP is that Russ Limbaugh is now championed as the authentic voice of "conservatism" in the USA---poor fellow your country.

Me-thinks that Wendell Berry has always articulated and lived a truly conservative voice in modern USA politics and culture.
His philosophy was essentially an extension an a variation on the Small Is Beautiful philosophy espoused by E F Schumacher back in the 70's and 80's, before the big is better technocratic "realists" took over with the encouragement of Thatcher and Reagan.

The conservative world-view that Berry espouses can be found via this marvellous magazine.


That of E F Schumacher


Small Is Beautiful being the only school wherein a truly humanising culture can be cultivated, and flourish.

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