Against Liberalism, 1st Edition by John Kekes

By John Kekes

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It is also to benefit from greater trust and discretion at work. It is to enjoy in a major aspect of everyday life a sense of effective agency. It is to act according to a view of one’s job lying somewhere between the ancient conception of the honorable calling and the modern idea of transformative power. Four typical situations The contrast between vanguard and rearguard presents itself now in four typical ways throughout the world. These ways differ according to two criteria: whether the division between vanguard and rearguard takes hold in the conditions of a relatively rich or a relatively poor country, and whether it is compensated by a countervailing device or allowed to operate unhindered.

Like the rich country’s counterweight to the contrast between vanguard and rearguard the universalistic, redistributive welfare state it 38 VANGUARDS AND REARGUARDS lacks an intimate connection with the conditions of economic growth and cultural innovation. The significance of this disconnection becomes clearer when related to the modern European experiences and debates about the alternative forms of industrial society. The idea of a decentralized market economy based upon competition and cooperation among smallscale owners and entrepreneurs was the single most persistent alternative to the concentrated forms of economic power with which we have come to associate "modern capitalism" and its characteristic forms of largescale organization.

We do not need to choose between a low-energy institutionalized politics and a highenergy extra-institutional or anti-institutional politics of personal leadership and energized crowds. The political thinking of democratic experimentalism begins in the rejection of this choice. Insight into false necessity informs the practice of democratic PLAN OF THE BOOK 27 experimentalism and helps generate the concept of alternative pluralisms. This concept applies the stricture against institutional fetishism to the diagnosis of our present situation.

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