For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Political Philosophy
The Narrow Path to Social Progress
  • Anthony C. Patton
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Political Philosophy. The Narrow Path to Social Progress
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What do we mean by "social progress" and how do we know what is the right direction? How does the value of "liberty" inform our views?

Drawing on thinkers from Heraclitus to Hegel and Haidt, the author ponders how to balance the interests and responsibilities of the individual and of society as a whole. He convincingly argues for the family and private property as key elements in a cohesive and consistent set of universal values supportive of civilization at large.


About the Author

Anthony C. Patton has worked with the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, and Department of State. He has served in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Italy, and Greece, gaining insights into the political and social scene and the competing interests of the elites and the common people in developing countries.

He earned an MBA with high honors at Thunderbird - School of Global Management and a BA from Augsburg College with a double major in mathematics and philosophy, magna cum laude.

Patton has also written a novel, Unfaithfully Yours, and The World as Story, a book designed to help writers and story tellers to understand the ideas of story and life.

About the Book

Society exists for the sake of the individual citizens (not the other way around). Society, however, is not a thing that exists on its own. When we say society helps us succeed, we are really saying we all together help each other succeed....

Society exists for the sake of the individual citizens (not the other way around). Society, however, is not a thing that exists on its own. When we say society helps us succeed, we are really saying we all together help each other succeed. There is no "they" to take care of us. While we might all love for everyone to get along, to help the needy, and for the wars to end, we need to explain how people can reach this point in their biological growth and development by promoting social progress.

The author analyzes the building blocks we use to gain knowledge of the world and make progress (universals) and the underlying material that makes progress (teleology), that is, our human nature. He presents well-reasoned arguments for a moderate conservative outlook on life and offers readers new ways to think about and evaluate their own arguments.


More . . .
Chapter Six. Liberty

...The important point is true liberty is not generally found in these institutions, which is why liberty is not possible in a social organism: the entire society performs as an institution, much like an ant farm or beehive. People with liberty will be free to seek out which institutions they try to join, and the institution might help them develop in ways that makes liberty more satisfying, but they will take the liberty with them to the organization. They will not...

Chapter Six. Liberty

...The important point is true liberty is not generally found in these institutions, which is why liberty is not possible in a social organism: the entire society performs as an institution, much like an ant farm or beehive. People with liberty will be free to seek out which institutions they try to join, and the institution might help them develop in ways that makes liberty more satisfying, but they will take the liberty with them to the organization. They will not discover liberty within an institution, at least while they are actively participating in the institution, unless their personal goals and ambitions perfectly align with the institution. If a person finishes work at a factory (institution) and goes home at the end of the day, he will potentially enter the space of liberty. This does not mean submitting ourselves to institutions is always bad or that life should always be about seeking a perpetual state of liberty bliss, because liberty is not the absence of personal responsibility, but all people would benefit from understanding what liberty is, where we find it, and where we do not.

...Where this becomes important is when people believe an institution is the space of liberty and make demands on the institution such that their personal development and satisfaction are more important than the mission of the institution. When I was in the Air Force, this was never a problem because my fellow airmen and I never dared to think for even one moment that our needs took priority over the mission. We used words like mission and sacrifice, which was our way of saying we put the mission above our own needs. We could throw our hat in the ring for certain jobs or opportunities and derive satisfaction from the work we did, but the mission came first. If people cannot find a way to find satisfaction in the mission of the institution, they should probably seek another institution, rather than self-absorbedly ask the institution to accommodate them. Granted, the mission of an institution often inspires people to do their job well, and satisfied people usually but not always perform better, but my fellow airmen and I never had any illusions about why we woke up each day. Institutions have problems when people take priority over the mission, when individuals try to carve a space for liberty within the institution. Imagine a professional sports team or world-class orchestra that started hiring sub-performing individuals or allowed the members to tell the coach or conductor how much they are willing to practice. As long as the mission is clearly defined and people are expected to conform their behavior to the needs of the institution, the institution should be well positioned to face competition from other institutions.



Pages 212
Year: 2017
BISAC: PHI019000 PHILOSOPHY / Political
BISAC: POL042020 POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-285-9
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-286-6
eBook
ISBN: 978-1-62894-287-3

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