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an American politics of virtue
  sanctity of principled institutions

gary e. davis
October 7, 2020
“We can’t keep rewriting history, scrambling norms, ignoring our cherished system of checks and balances,” Biden said last month (speech against confirming Ginsberg replacement soon).

Last July, I tweeted @AOC that “America is in desperate need of policy and action by warrant of the sanctity of principled institutions and authentic values.” (I “Follow” no one, and I’m followed by no one. Fine: It’s not a medium I like.)

In the preface of “Reinventing American Democracy,” the President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences noted that “our charter states that the Arts and Sciences ‘promote the honor and dignity of the government which patronizes them’…”

Accordingly, the final report’s Strategy 6 is “Inspire a Culture of Commitment to American Constitutional Democracy and One Another,” which looks like a formalization of Biden’s appeal to bind love of each other with love of nation.

I propose that the site of that binding be the most common interface of life and nation: profession and organization. Public life is an emergent ecosphere of public lives and vastly interacting organizations. Society is an emergent ecology of its ecospheres. Here
is the locality of “difficult choices,” which Harvard historian James T. Kloppenberg discussed decades ago, “involved in promoting virtue in a culturally diverse nation”—
a centripetal global humanity (I add)—through “institutions designed to facilitate deliberative democracy.”

Our principled institutions are as important as each life’s prosperity. And the good society can be no better than its organizations. This is a theme I’ll return to.


next—> ideality



  Be fair. © 2020, g. e. davis