The cult of “individual rights” prevents us from appreciating what we have in common, and how government actually helps us as individuals
Another perceptive, well-argued, article by Hill. The gradual increase of anti-government sentiment for almost 50 years has blinded many to much government can (has and does) do. Many - especially those better off economically - often lament about this or that government policy (sometimes justifiably) but fail to realize their own personal success is often in no small part due to government policies for the common good. Hill mentions as examples the government funding of many scientific breakthroughs, the interstate transportation system, the national parks, FEMA disaster relief, and the USPS. One could add restrictions on child labor (and many other similar socially detrimental matters), social security and medicare, even the Affordable Care Act. If you can imagine any of those coming from a non-government group, you've got a better imagination than I do.
The anti-government folks are often critical of government "handouts" to the economically disadvantaged, even if those are often disadvantaged through no fault of their own. Sure, a few getting those "handouts" may be undeserving, but to ensure all are deserving would probably be very expensive to administer - cheaper, perhaps, to let a few undeserving benefit. But these same anti-government folks have no problem - as Hill mentions - with their tax breaks and loopholes (read: government "handouts") largely unavailable to the less well-off. Government subsidies to corporations and industries (i.e., the bank bail outs in 2009, subsidies to the fossil fuel industry) can usually be justified for the greater good. But they are government "handouts" to help those in unforeseen difficulties.
Hill's suggestion for reducing anti-government sentiment is good: The government needs to speak up more about what they are doing and can do for the common good. And in my opinion it seems the Biden administration is beginning to do this. Fortunately they have some successes to talk about. The anti-government folks surely speak up and make their opinion heard. The government also needs to do so.
I've not added much in my post here to what Hill has already said. But good points are worth - sometimes need - repeating.
Right on. That's exactly what my book is about!
Many thanks! My book calls for a much more radical (though still representative) democracy than we've ever had in the U.S. I try to connect democracy with what I take to be a new theory of prudential judgment, so there's a bit of analytic philosophy at the start. There's a review of it in The Journal of Value Inquiry, and Robert Talisse tells me he's working on one as well. Here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/Democratic-Theory-Naturalized-Foundations-Distilled/dp/1793624976
For those who don't want to spend $40 on a book by someone they've never heard of (and who could blame them?) you can get a sense of where I'm coming from by reading this article: https://philarchive.org/rec/HORWRD, this blog: luckorcunning.blogspot.com, these book reviews: https://www.3-16am.co.uk/articles/.c/a-hornbook-of-democracy-book-reviews (the one on Rosenfeld's "The Polarizers" takes a somewhat different tack than can be found in Steven Hill's piece), and this interview: https://www.3-16am.co.uk/articles/democracy-naturalised?c=end-times-series
Again, thanks very much for this opportunity for shamelessness!!--WH
I'll just add here that based on what I've read about what "The New Right" is up to these days, I'm actually hoping the Republican Party doesn't move too far from its Madisonian/Reaganesque roots, wrong and selfish as I believe libertarianism to be. Be careful what you dream.