Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Manent Mercredi #10: on the nation
From the Law and Liberty website, a good essay by Guillaume de Thieulloy on Manent's thought, focusing especially on his views on the nation state and on his (comparative) neglect in France:
Accurate glosses of other thinkers and charming writing are the main assets of the writings of my former teacher. Nor is this by chance—for Manent rightly thinks of himself as an heir, as we all are. We received our forma mentis from our ancestors and especially from the classics. Manent, in his latest book (Beyond Radical Secularism), proffered the classic authors as an access point for young French people (including those whose parents were not culturally French) to a shared vision of the world and of the human being. The appeal he made in this 2016 book was very powerful and striking. Unfortunately, the education system in our country worked, and still works, toward the creation of a “new human being,” after the revolutionary tabula rasa. If we are seeking the common good, we need a common language and some common heroes, common legends, and common history. So, the French rulers who pretend to promote the ethic of “vivre-ensemble” (living together)—especially with those who have immigrated into France—while at the same time abandoning education in the classics are deceiving the rest of us, or themselves.
Manent’s public profile is now that of a promoter of the European nation-state—or perhaps more precisely, a defender of that nation-state which is being so harshly attacked by European “elites.” That defense includes, of course, the American “daughter” of the European nation-state. It also includes, in some aspects, the Jewish mother of the European nation-state, which has been for so many centuries a nation without a state. He’s indeed one of the rare influential writers who doesn’t seem to think that “progress” implies the vanishing of this very specific “political form.”
See more here. (The earlier essay by Paul Seaton referred to by de Thieulloy is also worth reading and can be found here.)