Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Robert George, A visit to Italy to discuss civic values
I have just returned from Italy, where I gave the graduation adddress for the Master of Civic Education program at the Ethica Institute in the charming city of Asti. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage some of Italy's most gifted and promising young intellectuals. Ethica is performing a great service to the Italian nation by promoting the rigorous and appreciative study of civic values that must be in place if a regime of republican liberty is to be sustained. Scholars representing a spectrum of political viewpoints are assisting in the project. Students at Ethica have the great advantage of hearing the best arguments that can be made on different sides of questions that are at the center of Italian politics today. It is often lamented by public spirited Italians that civic discourse in their nation has degenerated into the rankest forms of partisanship. They say that political discussions frequently amount to exchanges of insults and other forms of verbal abuse. Ethica is doing something to change that. Its efforts deserve praise and support.

What would believers in consolidationism have to say about civic values and republicanism? Would Robert George or mainstream Italians be willing to repudiate that project? When the scale of a polity is too great, how can political discourse not degenerate as mass man, who has been unshackled from tradition and the bounds of community, is incorporated into it?

Ethica forum di riflesione sui temi dell'etica e della morale
Maurizio Viroli

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