Thursday, December 24, 2009
A few days ago, Bob noted a recent NYTM profile of our own Robby George ("The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker"). Robby's friend and colleague, Ryan Anderson, discusses the profile in this post. A bit:
. . .But the Times profile did misunderstand one pretty important aspect of George’s work.
Throughout the article, George is depicted as having manufactured an entirely new moral and political philosophy, which he now “sells” to the leading Evangelicals and Roman Catholic bishops of America to advance social-conservative causes.
Without a doubt, George and the other so-called “new natural lawyers” are innovative, but their innovations are in the service of reviving and refining what Isaiah Berlin called the central tradition of Western philosophy, the tradition that runs through Aristotle and Aquinas. Rather than manufacturing novel philosophical theories, George and his colleagues see themselves as appropriating and building on the wisdom of the ages to tease out the purposes and meanings of various social practices. In other words, this is philosophically critical conservative thought at its best. . . .