第51页 Machiavelli and the Case for Hypocrisy
- 章节名：Machiavelli and the Case for Hypocrisy
- 页码：第51页 2017-06-21 05:21:15
For years I have been trying to maintain the claim that, though useful for shedding light on some essential aspects of politics, the notorious friend-enemy dichotomy distorts our daily life and tends to create an encompassing ideology that blatantly reinforces its own validity. Instead, there is in fact a vast area between friendship and enmity that characterizes the world as we see it through our own eyes, a grey area whose preservation can in fact be conducive to both peace (defined as absence of conflicts) and liberty (defined as equal accessibility to diverse ways of life).
Ruth's work helps me see the necessity of this middle, grey area, but I disagree with her on the essence of it. While she wants to preserve "politics" that is distinguishable from friendship and enmity, I want to preserve "indifference" that is distinguishable from politics. For her, friend-enemy dichotomy is not politics. Therefore, we need politics to buffer the severity of the clash between friendship and enmity, two non-political areas of life. For me, friend-enemy dichotomy does reveal something important about the essence of politics. Therefore, we need something not completely political to temper the severity of politics per se.
Unfortunately, the dominant, moralist approach to political philosophy today is unconducive - both theoretically and practically - to the preservation of this benign indifference. Theoretically, it prioritizes equal respect toward others as the major political virtue (even if the term "virtue" is very much ignored due to its teleological origin), thereby forcing us to accept the business of others as our own and eliminating the possibility that some real distance (not the fake "distance" feebly claimed to be the outcome of that mutual respect) between individuals and individuals can be benign. Practically, it enervates individuals and speciously allows them to freely claim for their "justice" whenever they are hurt by indifference they receive from others - as if they are unjustly disrespected not only when their rights are actively violated, but also when others fail to actively revere them.
The cult of mutual respect endangers the prospect of our contemporary world. On its altar, this cult sacrifices our own duties toward ourselves, but it is exactly these duties toward ourselves that prove crucial to the preservation of that benign indifference. Indeed, in a post-Enlightenment age, any unreflected talk about the individualistic "self" appears either regrettibly naïve or plainly false. Nevertheless, the inevitable victory of the discourse of intersubjectivity does not permanently oust the self per se, together with all its normativity, from the platform of serious discussions. Thus, even if the ethics of virtue can no longer be fully revived, its historically inferior cousin, the ethics of honor, may be more adaptible to the contemporary world that wants peace and liberty. We need to transcend Kantian autonomy-heteronomy dichotomy in moral philosophy as much as Schmittian friend-enemy dichotomy in political philosophy, as they thrive and wither in symbiosis. We need the ethics of honor to preserve the politics of indifference.
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