Saturday, March 6, 2021

The Wrong Mountain of Utilitarians and Libertarians

Rejecting the claims of the British utilitarians, Nietzsche said, “Man does not seek happiness; only the Englishman does that.” This is a good point which can be stretched to include the two concepts which obsess the libertarians: liberty and rights. Man does not seek liberty and rights; only the libertarian does that. Not happiness, not liberty, and not rights but being part of a nation with stable, historical, and decent culture, in which they might hope to flourish, according to the traditional norms of human flourishing, is fundamental to man. When the utilitarians talk about happiness, and the libertarians talk about liberty and rights, they are indulging in metaphysical fiction—they are exhorting humanity to climb the wrong mountain. The right mountain is culture. All good things come to the nations which have a good culture.

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