sexta-feira, 1 de abril de 2011

Dar a pensar...

[Sobre a importância (prática) da filosofia política]


«To simplify extravagantly, political views used to come in blocks, pre-packaged. If you were on the left, right, or somewhere in the middle, you knew what you thought about a wide range of issues, and you knew what your opponents thought too. This made life must easier. It was easier for politicians because they didn’t have to grope around trying to work out their precise position on difficult questions – the kind where competing considerations pulled in different directions. They just referred to their block of views, which usually supplied an answer. It was easier for voters because we knew which block politician subscribed to and could judge them by seeing what we thought about them, without getting involved in the messy details. (What we thought about it often depended on our identification with a particular party – usually the one we had inherited from our parents so there wasn’t all that much thinking going on in any case.)

Today we are suspicious to these pre-package blocks. Politicians are keen to leave behind the old dogmas and orthodoxies, to move beyond left and right, to adopt a mix-and-match approach. They have to make it up as they go along. They are willing to look at what works, to borrow good ideas from the other side. The centre-left seeks a “Third Way”. The right goes in for “compassionate conservatism”. This brings the charge of opportunism, of lacking any clear guiding principles. Politicians reply that they are not selling out; rather, they are adapting the traditional values of their party to a new context, which many include a electorate less sympathetic to those values than it used to be. Meanwhile, the parties converge, both rhetorically and in terms of policies, which makes it harder for voters to work out what they stand for. Political philosophy provides the tools that politicians, and the rest of us, require to work out what they – and we – really think about the values and principles that can guide us through these complexities.»

Adam Swift, Political Philosophy. A beginners’ guide for students and politicians (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006, 2nd ed.) 2-3.

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